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Career opportunities languish for women in 30s: survey

Kampala, Uganda | XINHUA | More than 86 percent of responders feel that career opportunities languish for women in their 30s, said a recent survey by the China Youth Daily.

This is recognized by at least a portion of men as males account for 37.3 percent among the 1,973 responders.

The glass ceiling, exclusion from major projects, and removal from positions or salary cuts during maternity leaves are among difficulties that women in this age group have frequently encountered at the workplace, according to the survey.

Nearly 63 percent of respondents believe it is difficult for women in their 30s to climb higher in the echelon, while almost 60 percent say this age group has been cut off from major tasks or candidate pools at the workplace.

Cheng Jing (pseudonym), a 35-year-old employee with a foreign company in Shanghai, linked this to her pregnancy and childbirth. To the best of her recollection, she has continued to lose opportunities ever since she got pregnant.

“The early stage of my pregnancy coincided with a team assembling for a major project. As a veteran in the field, I should have been more competent,” said Cheng.

“But I was eliminated from the very beginning because the expected date of delivery fell within the project’s execution phase.”

After the baby was born, she had to spend significant time on childcare, which, again, comes at the expense of her job performance, said the mother of a two-year-old toddler. Now she works at an auxiliary position.

Cheng is not the only one who decided to carry a child in her 30s according to Wen Chenjing, a barrister who specializes in employment disputes and also sits on the Shanghai municipal bar association.

The age period from 30 to 39 is considered the reproductive peak for Chinese female professionals, said Wen, which has seen a notable divergence in their life trajectories in this period.

“We found that a large number of women temporarily left the workplace to bear and raise children in this period, while a similar number of them delayed their childbirth schedules for the sake of career development.”

Despite facing tougher odds after childbirth, women in their 30s have shown strong assertiveness in the survey.

More than 91 percent of respondents believed women are capable of standing out in the workplace in this period as well.

With 30 years to go before retirement, Hu Mingfei (pseudonym), a 29-year-old, said that women are expected to embrace the golden years in their careers.

To this end, 70.6 percent of respondents said women need to keep expanding their knowledge and skill portfolios, while 65.4 percent said women should hold the belief that the sky is the limit.

Cheng has decided to spend more time on self-improvement, leaving her child more room and sharing parenting responsibilities with her husband.

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