Happy International Women’s Day from Project Pengyou! To celebrate the holiday, we would like to highlight five Chinese women who are making waves in technology, business, fashion and more. Each one of these women is creating positive changes in their respective industries and in greater Chinese society. Read on to learn more about these amazing women!
1. He Qiaonü
He Qiaonü created the Beijing Orient Landscape Co. in 1992, and has since gone on to have her work featured at venues used during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and be listed on Forbes list of billionaires. In 2012, He founded the Beijing Qiaonü Foundation to combat the growing environmental concerns in China and throughout the world, projects range from snow leopard conservation to protecting global biodiversity. However, He recently made news with her announcement of a $1.5 billion commitment to wildlife conservation in collaboration with the environmental organization Panthera. This is one of, if not the largest, personal donation to wildlife conservation, and will have a great impact in China and around the world.
2. Guo Jianmei
A law graduate of Peking University, Guo aided in drafting the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women in 1992, and went on to found the Women Legal Studies and Service Center of Faculty of Law at Peking University three years later. This center offers legal aid, research, and training for women, and was named a top ten most influential civil society organization in China by Fortune magazine. In recognition for her humanitarian efforts and actions to promote women’s rights in China, Guo was awarded the Simone De Beauvoir Prize in 2010 and the International Women of Courage Award in 2011 by the United States Department of State.
3. Hu Shuli
Due to her hard-hitting, investigative journalism, Hu has a well-deserved reputation as one of China’s most prominent journalists. She established Caijing in 1998, and quickly gained recognition for being unafraid of reporting on sensitive topics. Despite government censorship, Hu has published stories on stock market manipulation, government corruption, and, perhaps most famously, the cover-up of the SARS epidemic by the Chinese government in 2003. In 2009, Hu co-founded the news magazine Caixin, where her famous investigative journalism style has continued undeterred. At the age of 65, she has not slowed down despite handing over leadership of Caixin, and continues to be a shining example of the possibility of independent journalism in China.
4. Chen Man
Chen Man burst onto the photography scene at the age of 23 with a cover shoot for Vision, a Chinese fashion magazine. Since then she has photographed Rihanna, Victoria Beckham, and Nicole Kidman as well as popular Chinese actresses such as Fan Bingbing and Zhang Ziyi. Her work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, and Muse, among others. Famous for mixing contemporary Chinese style with traditional spaces, such as the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Great Wall, Chen’s dramatic photographs have brought international praise and attention. She gained further prominence after her photo series for i-D magazine which included models of varying Chinese ethnicity in order to showcase the diversity and beauty of China. Critics hailed the 12 covers as “some of the most creative, progressive and beautifully composed photography of 2012.
5. Naomi Wu
Only 23 years old, Naomi Wu is rocking the tech world. She uses her growing fanbases on Twitter and YouTube to promote her inventions, often wearable technology for women, and encourage women pursue careers in STEM and gain technical competence. While still in college, Wu taught herself to code to earn money, and now spreads the message that other women can do the same. Her YouTube videos often show her in provocative clothing, thus the persona of the “sexy cyborg”, demonstrating her latest DIY product such as an LED skirt or platform shoes with pockets. Many in the tech world are uncomfortable with Wu’s image, as it does not fit the male-dominated industry, and this culminated in 2017 when an executive in the maker community claimed that she was a fraud, and not a real person. Despite the difficulties, Wu continues to fight sexism in the tech industry and uses her visibility to defy norms and promote other women in tech.
What other ladies should be added to this list? Check out our previous list for women’s day and leave a comment below to let us know what you did for Women’s day!