By: Yunmei Li, In-Country Consultant, China
“Act like a girl, don’t light the firecrackers, don’t climb the tree, don’t compete with boys.”
“No need to work too hard, you will have to marry someone later.”
“It’s ok if you go to college and have a degree, but don’t go any further, otherwise boys will be intimidated, and you’ll be one of the ‘leftovers’.”
“Girls are not supposed to pay for their house and car, that’s what boys do.”
That’s how I was raised. That’s what millions of girls are exposed to since born, and these ideas have shaped a view of self-identity in which girls define themselves as destined to be subordinate and vulnerable. But I refused to surrender. I did better job in school than boys: I led the parties and festivals, I’ve earned money to pay for my tuition fees since high school, and I went to college in Beijing while my friends mostly chose a university near home. I actively took the lead running projects at work, I shouldered more responsibilities and got promoted faster than my male coworkers, and I am always excited about the outside world. So here I am, as Girl Up In-Country Consultant in China.
I graduated with a degree in Literature from Beijing Language and Culture University. I worked with Chinese Culture Translation Studies Support under the Ministry of Culture, then worked as Chinese cultural stage-show producer. Most of my time were spent on connecting China to other countries, and when I heard Girl Up was expanding to China, I felt an inside voice urging me to take action.
I wish I’d had the Girl Up community and resources when I was growing up.
Currently, in China, there are girls leading majors and programs, pursing higher education, excelling in the workplace, being doctors, engineers, pilots, executives and entrepreneurs, raising kids and work hard at the same time; there are also girls dropping out of school, getting married before 18 years old, getting anxious for being called leftovers, and leaving the workplace to take care of their families. I don’t want girls to be raised like me, where I felt lonely and not supported. I wish someone had told me my voice matters, my choices are respected. I wish there was less prejudice and rigid gender roles, with more understanding and safe places to share and talk about worries instead; I wish I’d had the Girl Up community and resources when I was growing up.
I am so excited to enable girls to see the outside world and choose to live the lives they want with the help and support of Girl Up.
网络上有很多讨论和抵制性别歧视的话题，女孩们也有了更多的视角和机会，这对于Girl Up在中国的发展提供了优质的土壤。我希望能在Girl Up的帮助和支持下，让中国的女孩们看的更多的外部世界，让她们能够自由地选择想要的生活。