95-year-old Chinese academician goes viral after encouraging women to fight for gender equality
Published: Nov 04, 2021 11:57 PM
Photo: Xinhua

Photo: Xinhua

Ye Shuhua, a 95-year-old academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and also China's first female observatory director, went viral on social media in China after giving a speech in English encouraging women to strive for gender equality. The video of her speech has earned more than 580 million views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo and sparked countless discussions about women's social responsibilities on Chinese social media.

Ye spoke at the SHE Forum of the World Laureates Association in Shanghai on Tuesday. The video of the speech was uploaded on Sina Weibo on Wednesday and quickly became one of the hottest topics  on the platform, creating more than 61,000 discussion threads as of Thursday.

In the video, Ye said that women have special characteristics that help make society better.

"Women need to showcase their capabilities, and when they do things well, they'll be more encouraged to be more confident and stand out so their voices can be heard," said Ye, who is also honorary director of the CAS' Shanghai Observatory.

Many women in China said they felt encouraged by the speech, with many saying that if women can shine in their own industries, they will acquire more right to speak and be able to allow the world to see their "she" power.

A discussion surrounding women's social character and responsibilities also started after Ye's speech went viral.

One Sina Weibo user "Likuzhou" pointed out the imbalance in the male/female ratio in groups of highly-educated people. 

"In the Chinese doctoral degree group, the number of men accounted for 56.77 percent in 2020, while the number of women accounted for 43.23 percent. The higher the degree, the lower the proportion of women. Why? Where are the female scientists? Because at the most suitable age for research, female students voluntarily sacrifice the investments they made over the past decade to get married and have children, ceding the position to male students."

The netizen represents the voice of many people who said women have value in the workplace and have the capability to promote the development of industries with their wisdom. However, not every netizen agreed with this sentiment. 

The opposing voices said that taking care of children and the family is the major value of women and also their most important contribution to society.

"Equality between men and women is not that women must do men's work, but that women should raise the next generation of our nation," another Sina Weibo user wrote, also getting support from hundreds of netizens.

A man and a woman, who are both 26 years old with graduate degree, told the Global Times on Thursday that they firmly support Ye's view and women also can fulfill their value in work.