What women want: Self-fulfillment

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-03-27 06:53

What makes a woman happy? Power, money, love, sex?

In fact, self-fulfillment ranks the highest, for more than 60 percent of the respondents in a recent survey.

The survey was conducted by the Yueji.Self, a Chinese-language magazine jointly launched this month by the Chinese-language Women of China magazine and the New York-based magazine publisher Conde Nast Publications.

"The high marks for self -fulfillment are inspiring and encouraging," Li Yinhe, a noted sexologist and professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said.

"It shows big progress. More and more women want to achieve their life value, which eclipses the importance of the private life for women.

"When women start to value self fulfillment, they become more equal to men."

In China, the traditional mindset is that men live for their careers and women live for love.

Although only about 22.5 percent surveyed prioritized love as the big happiness maker, it doesn't mean that Chinese women no longer believe in love, Li said.

However, it demonstrated that love was no longer the most important factor for a woman to be happy in China. This is perhaps reflected in the growing trend that many Chinese women are opting to remain single.

While the dependence on love for happiness has dampened, according to the survey, so has sex.

Only about 2.2 percent of Chinese women consider sex the most valuable factor to a happy woman.

The reason, Li said, was that the word was stereotyped with negative meanings.

"A good woman should not like sex," she said.

"Love is a beautiful word. But power, money and sex all represent the negative things."

So it is understandable when only 0.6 percent of women chose power, the lowest among all options, the survey showed.

"The awareness and recognition of women's empowerment are relatively low in China," Li said. "The country has long been a patriarchial society and still is, offering less opportunities and encouragement to women to compete with men."

"Despite the progress made in gender equality and women empowerment in recent years, only 20 percent of the National People's Congress (NPC) members are females," Li said.

The survey is also the first of its kind to be carried out in 15 cities on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan province.

It surveyed 24,107 women aged from 25 to 35 from December 2006 and March 2007.

Women from Taiwan Province have more expectation in money, due to province's stagnant economy and marriage culture.

As a result, a large number of women feel insecure and uncertain about their future and marriage, Lan Huaien, a Taiwan gender culture researcher and a writer, said.

The survey showed that women in Hong Kong were more romantic, with 34.3 percent of women believing that love mattered the most.

"Hong Kong women are in the drought of love," Su Hei, a Hong Kong psychological consultant, said.

"They have raised higher standards in choosing their matches."

Perhaps this higher standard would account for the 30-40 percent of Hong Kong men who prefer to marry women from the Chinese mainland.

On the other hand, perhaps women in Hong Kong, where material goals are easier to obtain, require more substance in the soul.

(China Daily 03/27/2007 page5)

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