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Friday, March 9, 2018 - 19:30

Breaking with social norms: a perspective on China's gender equity from the feudal to the contemporary

A panel discussion with Wu Qing and Cai Yiping, moderated by Hong Huang


Due limited space, the application process to the event is closed.


Embassy of Romania
Ritan road, East second street, Beijing



Reservations are valid only upon receipt of a confirmation email from BIS.

BIS events are open to foreign passport holders only.
All BIS events are off-the-record.
Photography, filming and recording are not permitted.

Non-members welcome for a single lecture fee of RMB 60;
students with valid ID RMB 30. 

Membership desk open 7:00 pm for 7:30 pm lecture

For inquiries on the day of the event, from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm, please call 1324 151 4978.

Confucius, viewed through a Western prism is often portrayed as a “wise” old man with a long beard. Yet, traditional Confucianism promoted some of the most patriarchal family systems that ever existed. Later, Mao’s adage that “women hold up half the sky” was also taken with a grain a salt by many women who lived in those times and contemporary Chinese Women Scholars. In recent times, however, legislative progress and a change in attitudes are starting to displace this patriarchy.  It is undeniable that deep-rooted patriarchal Confucianism still plays a significant role in today’s China. However, the gender gap has considerably narrowed in well educated society.

Come hear veteran women’s rights advocate, Wu Qing’s perspective as she shares her infinite, humorous and edgy wisdom with us. Her life’s work with underprivileged women in China has attracted awards and accolades globally as well as in China. “I don't want drastic change. It is often dangerous and unhealthy. I often use this analogy: If it should rain cats and dogs, rain water washes away the top soil, which is fertile. But if it drizzles, rain water sinks in, it waters the soil. Seeds take root. They grow, blossom and bear fruits. My goal will take centuries to be realized.” She will unveil the mystery of why she compares herself to a “verb” and how her mother who was born in 1900’s graduated from Wellesley College.

Cai Yi Ping, a gender scholar and advocate for economic and gender equity in Beijing, will discuss the importance of economic factors related to gender inequity. She will also give us an overview of the Chinese #MeToo movement which unlike in the United States, which exposed widespread sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood, is restricted to the voices of women on college campuses in China.

Hong Huang will moderate and weave through past and present between our two speakers. She will also share her own wisdom with us and discuss the backlash she received for encouraging women to adapt Confucian behaviors.


Wu Qing served as a Beijing People's Congress legislator from 1984-2011, but she's not your typical bureaucratic official. An award-winning professor of English, she has also built a reputation as a fearless advocate for women's rights, human rights, and rule of law, playing a pioneering role building Chinese women's entrepreneurship and political participation at the grassroots level. Wu Qing has received numerous awards in recognition of her career in public service, including most notably the 2001 Ramon Magsaysay Award, also known as the Asian Nobel Prize. Wu was re-elected six times as a people’s deputy for the Haidian District People’s Congress, and was also elected to the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress. She was the first deputy to meet with constituents on a weekly basis and to report her work, relying heavily on the Chinese Constitution. She was a pioneer in advocating for Chinese women's educational and political participation. Since 1989, she has worked with the Canadian International Development Agency, working with women in poor and remote areas on literacy, microcredit, and legal training projects. Wu Qing founded the Rural Women Training School in Beijing to teach literacy and job skills to women and girls from the countryside. Over the last 20 years, she has held a place on numerous Chinese and international boards and was nominated by the Schwab Foundation Network as one of the World’s Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs of 2003.

Hong Huang is an author, blogger, media figure and a publisher. Huang has been concerned with woman’s issues since 2003 when SINA blog was the most influential platform for new thinking in China. Her blog challenged traditional concepts of gender in China and encouraged a generation of woman to fight for gender equality. Between 2005 and 2016, Hung Huang devoted herself to promoting local Chinese fashion designers, she was the publisher and editor of a local fashion magazine called iLook. She was also the founder of the first designer concept store in China. She launched a pod cast called “Girl Power” to talk about feminism and woman’s issues.

Cai Yiping is executive committee member of DAWN, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era. She is a feminist activist actively engaging in women's movements in China and internationally. She was Associate Researcher at the Women's Studies Institute of China (2006 – 2008) and was a journalist for China Women's News (1995 - 2005), writing extensively on the issue of women's human rights. As a young feminist and founding member, she participated in creating several vibrant women's NGOs in China after the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995. These included the Media Monitoring Network for Women (since1996) and Network (Research Center) for Combatting Domestic Violance (since 2000). She has deep experience working with government, international agencies and non-profit organizations. Her areas of focus include media and communications, gender-based vilance, sexual and reproductive rights and health, and gender mainstreaming. Her current engagements cover the multiple processes in the national, regional and global levels on the post 2015 development agenda, ICPD beyond 2014, and Beijing+20 process. She serves as a member of UN Women’s Asia-Pacific Civil Society Advisory Group since March 2013, and is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Regional Engagement Mechanism established in May 2014.