The International Herald Tribune reports today that China has the largest pool of assets in the world. Over $1 trillion dollars. That in itself is significant news. Most people who follow international politics knew about this however.

Now, what I and probably many others did not know is that this pool of assets is managed by 3 women known as the three Xiaos, because their last names are coincidentally Xiaoling, Xiaolian and Xiaohui. Why is this significant? Because I think gender equality is a very significant yardstick by which to measure progress and in this sense China is very modern.

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Thomas Kenyon on March 6, 2007  · 

If gender equality is the mark of a modern society, then the most modern society in the world is probably russian.

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FFD on March 7, 2007  · 


it’s their first names, not their last names. Last names have practically always one syllable. Xiao means small. Most famous “Xiao” is Deng Xiao Ping (Deng, the small bottle).

Women have tradionally played a very important role in Chinese economics. They are responsible for the house hold’s money affair. This contrasts strongly with their political role, which is men’s domain.

Also, some of china’s ancient culture seems to be matriarchal. There seem to be some indications for that in the Chinese language. In the south, there are still culture with a strong matriarchal character today (the Naxi and Mosu in Yunnan).

All in all, it is definitely true that in present the role of women in the economcy is much stronger than in Europe. In some areas, for example restaurant and hotels, the management seems to be dominated by women whereas men fill subordinate roles such as room cleansing (!). The strong role is often attributed to the communist politics. I’m not sure whether that is really true, and personally I believe that the roots lie much deeper in Chinese culture and history.

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Apache on March 10, 2007  · 

Eh, this is nothing new. It is well known that women were very present and equally prevalent in business and politics within many of the ancient Mesoamerican cultures. This is also true for some of the (North America) Native Americans. Eventually the “modern wo/man” will figure out that there is a balance that is beneficial to all regardless of gender.

In my personal opinion, it should be the best person for the job. I feel this is especially true if you’re speaking of hiring a male or female for a particular job at the same pay rate. However, from what I have gathered (I could be wrong), I find it odd that women in this country complain about equal this and equal that when in an arena such as entrepreneurship my simple research has shown that in comparison there are very few women “self starters”.

Both genders are equally challenged to “bring home the bacon” in this arena and the numbers are heavily in the male favor. My point is not to create an assumption that females are not as good as men in this area. It is, in fact, meant to stir both genders into asking why this is. From there, if you care to, draw your own conclusion. Or better yet, draw up your own business plan and get some of that green.

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