Changing China

Giant on the move

Jobs for the girls

April 23, 2008

When I first started reporting on the run-up to the Beijing Olympics for Reuters, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the fact that there were generally many more women than men at press conferences, group interviews and in the mixed zone.

They were mostly young Chinese women who had just graduated from schools of journalism and communication. Like me, in fact.

Excellent, I thought, gender equality is visible even in the arena of sports journalism.

That early optimism disappeared when I looked for role models of how such a career might pan out.

I discovered that female sports journalists in China could perhaps be divided into four types:  

The Vase Good-looking but not so good at the job

“Oh, it is her first time as a commentator at the World Cup, so please don’t call her a ’vase’ even she knows nothing.”

“Anyhow, one could not easily become a ‘vase’ unless they decorated a studio as well as she does.”  

The Undercover Reporter Good-looking and good at the job

“Did you read her book, which is based on an extra close relationship with the national team coach?”

The Well Connected Not so good-looking and not so good at the job.

“How dare you stand right next to Liu Xiang?! Are you the daughter of the president of CCTV or something?”  

The Professional Not so good-looking but good at the job.

Sorry, such women never succeed.

Now I understand why there are so few female editors out there.


I like you.


I can’t believe you actually showed this on your web-site. Such a rag-tag of misspelled words and weak descriptions! Try to find some real writing about China please.


love the piece, quite funny.



Obviously this “blogger” thinks she belongs in the Professional category, where in fact her writing and attitude suggests that she’s merely well connected. Otherwise why would she not categorize herself? I don’t think modesty is the reason, as she has opened the can of worms of labeling her colleagues.

Posted by Ian Summers | Report as abusive

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