A reshuffle of provincial-level leadership nationwide, which has seen more women leaders elected, has been concluded with Guo Jinlong elected as the Secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the first plenary meeting of the 11th CPC Beijing Municipal Committee on July 3, 2012.
The group of newly-elected local leaders is characterized by several features, according to relevant data. Their average age is generally younger than that of their predecessors with more officials aged between 45 and 50 being elected into local government leadership. The same goes for their education levels, with 300 of the officials holding a master’s degree or higher, accounting for 74.7 percent of those elected.
The most eye-catching feature of the newly-elected leadership group, however, is that 37 women have been jointly elected to legislatures, governments, political advisory bodies and inspection departments at the provincial level in this nationwide election. All provinces have at least one female leader at their newly-formed provincial level governments, which is in line with a directive policy made by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee to cultivate women in leadership roles.
Four women have been elected to the posts of Secretary or Vice Secretary of a provincial committee of the CPC. Sun Chunlan, the Secretary of Fujian Provincial Committee of the CPC, is currently the only such female Secretary at provincial level. The rest, who hold vice secretary positions, are Li Bin from east China’s Anhui Province, Yin Yicui from east China’s Shanghai municipality, and Zhang Xuan from southwest China’s Chongqing municipality.
All of the others have taken up positions in legislative branches, political advisory bodies and inspection departments at provincial level.
Cai Xia, a professor from the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC, said that female leaders must work harder to gain recognition for their performance in a male-dominated field. The glass ceiling in politics makes it very difficult for them to advance from junior-level to senior-level, she added.
Professor Zhu Lijia, from Chinese Academy of Governance, also agreed with Cai’s opinions, and added that the criteria for choosing leaders should be based on personal merit and qualities rather than gender.