China’s booming economy has provided some people with opportunities to amass enormous wealth, and women are among them. Of the 1,000 richest Chinese, 102 are women, according to the country’s Hurun Rich List.
There are 130 known billionaires (in U.S. dollars), and two of the top five are women: Zhang Yin of Nine Dragons Paper, in second place, and Yang Huiyan of Country Garden real estate development, in fourth. Fifth place goes to the husband-and-wife team Huang Wei and Li Ping of the Xinhu property company.
Yet other figures tell a different, important story: In the key area of political representation, women are falling behind.
There isn’t a single woman among the nine members of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party’s Politburo, the most powerful decision-making body in the country. Just 3 of 27 government ministers are women.
Most tellingly, perhaps, since 1997, China has fallen to 53rd place from 16th in the world in terms of female representation at its parliament, the National People’s Congress, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.