Story of the Month - March 2017

Story of the Month - March 2017 

每月故事 - 二零一七年三月

China has undergone rapid urbanization and industrialization in the past 30 years. Women have often been seen as exploited factory workers or laid off workers who lost out in the market economy.

中國在過去30年正在經歷急速的都市化和工業化。女性多被視為被剝削的「工廠妹」或是下崗女工,是市場經濟中的失敗者。

 

Song Jing, a sociologist studying self-employed women in rural village in Zhejiang Province, told another side of the story. One of her interviewee Yu (pseudonym) started learning to do self-employed needlework since she was 14 and later entered a rural factory. After years of hard work, she became the factory's vice manager. She encouraged her daughter to start her own business, while her husband preferred to stay in an urban work unit and doubted about the prestige of rural industries and women's entrepreneurship. Many rural women prefer self-employment than wage-work because it is easier to balance their career and family duties, but some also find great potential of entrepreneurship. Such entrepreneurship could be derived from various forms of self-employment, as a side job, an individual career or a family venture.

研究浙江農村自僱女性的社會學家宋婧教授,卻道出了故事的另一面。她的被訪者余女士(假名)自14歲起學習「挑花」的手工藝活,後來更進入當地的村辦企業。經過多年努力,她成為了工廠的副廠長。她鼓勵女兒創業,開創自己的生意;她的丈夫卻情願留在一個城裡單位工作,對農村工業和女性的創業前景持懷疑態度。很多農村女性情願自僱多於打工,因為自僱令她們更容易平衡事業和家庭責任,但是也不乏在追求靈活就業模式中發現創業機會的女性。創業機會很多時候和自僱工作緊密相關,並且可以以副業,個人職業,或者家族生意的多種方式出現。

 

Prof. Song's research shows that women are not merely losing out in China's transition to the market economy. They are willing to take the risks, grab opportunities, and make a difference via various pathways including self-employment and entrepreneurship.

宋教授的研究顯示,女性並非完全是中國向市場經濟轉型過程中的失敗者。她們勇於面對風險,把握機會,以自僱和創業等多種形式改變未來。

 

 

Song Jing

 

Men are often observed in the more capital-intensive self-employment, such as transportation, while women tend to take the more labor-intensive work, such as running food stands. Photo by Song Jing.

男性多做資本密集的自僱工作,如運輸。女性則傾向選擇勞動密集工作,如在路邊賣食物。攝影:宋婧。

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