“I wish had Girl Up growing up,” Introducing: #GirlUpChina

Education , Supporters in Action

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.


“多希望成长中有Girl Up相伴”


这就是我成长中经常听到的话。这也是无数女孩的成长中经常听到的话——所以她们往往定义自己为天生的弱势群体,易受伤害。但我从未认同。我成绩比男生好,我带团队参加演出,我高中开始就自己挣钱交学费,我的朋友们都选择了离家近的大学时,我只身一人去了北京,我在工作中主动申请做带头人,我抗下了更多的压力,晋升地比其他男同事快,我也总是对外面的世界充满好奇和兴趣。这就是我,Girl Up中国地区的国内顾问。

我毕业于北京语言大学中文文学系,曾在中国文化对外翻译与传播研究中心工作了22个月,也为中国文化舞台秀做了半年的制作人。我的大部分时间都在做中外文化交流连接工作,不论是通过课题项目还是教育的形式,我对于尊重差异和心态开放都有着极大的热情。因此当我听说Girl Up要来中国发展时,我感觉到内心的躁动,有一个不安分的声音在告诉我得去做点什么,帮帮那些曾经跟我一样,却没有足够的勇气真正做自己的女孩们,和全世界一起,改变不尽人意的现实生活。

当下中国,有主导话题和项目的女孩,有一路向上读书的女孩,有在工作领域非常出色的女孩,有当医生、工程师、飞行员、企业高管和创业者的女孩,也有认真工作同时生养孩子的女孩;但也有很多女孩早早的退了学,18岁前就结婚,焦虑自己或会被称呼为剩女,为了相夫教子而离开职场。我希望这些女孩不是像我一样孤立无援地成长,我希望有人曾经告诉她们想法和声音很重要,她们会被尊重;我希望能少一些偏见和性别定位,而多一些理解和安全区域,她们可以自由地讨论自己的忧虑;我多希望在成长中的我能有Girl Up社群和资源的陪伴支持。

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。