How can we amplify women’s voices on China?


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Joanna Chiu of Agence France Presse and Lucy Hornby of the Financial Times discuss gender representation in China expertise; also, the public list of female China specialists they created to get more women quoted in the media and speaking on discussion panels.

From business to literature to politics, there is a huge pool of female expertise on China. But you wouldn’t know it if you examined the names of people who are quoted in the media and invited to China-themed panel discussions: They are mostly men. This is a problem that two Beijing-based journalists aim to solve.

Joanna Chiu of AFP and Lucy Hornby of the Financial Times created and maintain an open, user-contributed list called “Female Experts on Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China and Taiwan.” They began by providing their own contacts, then promoted the document to various email groups and to Twitter. The list “blew up” early this year and now contains nearly 200 names and contact details of female China experts on every major subject area, based all around the world. With such a roster willing to be called up, the list eliminates many common excuses for the underrepresentation of women in the field.

In this episode, Joanna and Lucy speak with Jeremy and Kaiser about the realities and biases in the field, the excuses and corresponding solutions for gender underrepresentation, and how the “women’s list” came about.

Longtime listeners will remember Lucy from a previous Sinica episode discussing her story on China’s last surviving “comfort women,” enslaved by the Japanese military in World War II. You can follow Lucy on Twitter at @hornbylucy, and find Joanna on Twitter at @joannachiu.


Jeremy: Witness to Revolution, a film by Lucy Ostrander about author and labor activist Anna Louise Strong (1885–1970), who spent decades in China and the Soviet Union, getting to know Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Joseph Stalin, and writing about their pursuit of communism.

Lucy: All the President’s Men, the first-person account of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they reported on the Nixon administration’s Watergate scandal.

Joanna: The Supreme People’s Court Monitor, a project of Susan Finder, for those who follow Chinese law, and the work of Jessica Valenti, a feminist book author and columnist for the Guardian.

Kaiser: The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen, a story about a sleeper agent from Vietnam who moves to the U.S.