Women of Beijing

Updated: 2007-03-08 11:35

Women of BeijingBeijing used to feel like a bit of a boys club in the past, especially on the international scene. But things change. These days, women, both expat and local, are running the show in a variety of fields. Heck, for example, a Hong Kong woman, was named among China's richest people. The women of Beijing have truly come into their own in recent years, and what better time to recognize this than on on March 8, International Women's Day. While the holiday began as part of the sufferage movement in the early twentieth century, it has evolved as a day to appreciate the advances made in women's rights, as well as to acknowledge work that still needs to be done. Here gathered some women of varying ages and nationalities to chat about their experiences in Beijing.

1 Elyse Ribbons

Beijing has found its theatrical voice in Elyse Ribbons, who's been writing drama since high school. "It's such a rush seeing my plays interact with the audience" she says. Comedy is her genre, as it gives her the chance to "bring joy to myself and to others." But the comedic world isn't always welcoming to women, Ribbons says, due to misconceptions that men naturally possess greater comedic skill. As a woman, Ribbons feels that she is better able to understand her characters' varying perspectives. Advice for aspiring playwrights? Ribbons says, "Leave some space for the actors' improvisation. You ll find a lot of good creative energy."Dramaturge

2 Victoria Lenton

"Beijing is a great place for gourmands," says food writer Victoria Lenton. "I love being able to work with food. And the Chinese love to eat, so there's a lot of enthusiasm about food in this town." Lenton, a former correspondent for Gusto magazine, has a million food-related projects at any given moment, from freelance writing to developing her website, China-Soup.com, to creating her own cookbook of wine and Chinese food. Lenton doesn't think women belong in the kitchen, saying, "Some women are great cooks, but others just weren't born to cook." Advice for foodies-in-training? Lenton says, "You can't be afraid to stick out your chopsticks and say, 'oh, I'll try it.'"Gourmand

3 Katie Grube

The world's taken notice of the vibrant artistic outpourings of Beijing's 798 Art District, and Katie Grube is right there in the vanguard. "I discovered my passion for Chinese contemporary art while working at an international auction house in New York,” Grube explains. She is already manager of the Chinese Contemporary Gallery, and an organizer of artWALK Beijing, a community-oriented event she hopes can “make the area and contemporary art more accessible to a broader audience." Advice for young women interested in art? Grube says that exciting things are happening in Dashanzi these days, and now is a great time to get involved.Gallery Manager

4 Grace Wang

Some people might find studying at Beijing University quite enough, but for Grace Wang, a Chinese-American international student in comparative literature, her responsibilities extend far beyond the classroom. As anchorwoman on DragonTV's "City Beat," Wang frequently heads south to report on new trends and technologies in Shanghai. She also gives back to the women of Beida with her work on 85 Broads, a networking and mentoring association for women. "Being an American, I'm aware of more opportunities and channels of information," Wang says. "The women at Beida are bright and talented, but they don't know what opportunities are out there for them." Advice for becoming a successful business woman? Wang suggests you head to one of 85 Broads's lectures for a start, listed at 85Broads.comMedia Personality


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