Chinese perk for male coders: Women to relieve their stress


Sui Lee Wee| NYT News Service | Updated: Apr 26, 2018, 19:44 IST

BEIJING: China's vibrant technology scene is searching for people like Shen Yue. Qualifications: Must be attractive, know how to charm socially awkward programmers and give relaxing massages.


Shen is a "programmer motivator," as they are known in China. Part psychologist, part cheerleader, the women are hired to chat up and calm stressed-out coders. The jobs are proliferating in a society that largely adheres to gender stereotypes and believes that male programmers are "zhai," or nerds who have no social lives.



"They really need someone to talk to them from time to time and to organize activities for them to ease some of the pressure," said Shen, 25, who has a degree in civil engineering from a university in Beijing.

现年 25 岁的沈悦毕业于北京一所大学的土木工程专业,她说:“他们真的非常需要有人能时不时跟他们说说话,帮他们组织一些活动,舒缓压力。”

Chinese women have made great strides in the workplace. The country has the world's largest number of self-made female billionaires, while many startups have women in senior roles. But at a time when the United States and other countries are directly confronting the #MeToo movement, the inequalities and biases in China are rarely discussed openly and remain firmly entrenched.

中国女性在职场已经取得巨大飞跃。在全世界白手起家的女性亿万富豪中,以中国的人数最多,与此同时,女性在中国的很多创业公司中也担任高级职位。不过当美国和其他国家正在直面 #MeToo 运动时,中国存在了几千年的根深蒂固的性别不平等和性别歧视问题几乎没有得到公开讨论。

The country's laws against gender discrimination are not often enforced. Many companies are direct in their job ads. Males preferred. Only good-looking women need apply. With programmer motivators, it is more explicit, putting women in subservient positions to men.


While China's tech scene has produced companies that rival Facebook, Google and Amazon in power and wealth, the work culture in many ways trails even bro-dominated Silicon Valley.

虽然中国的科技行业产生了在实力和财富上足以与 Facebook、Google 和亚马逊一较高下的科技巨擘,不过它们的企业文化在很多方面仍跟随以男性为主导的硅谷。

In tech, men dominate the top ranks. Just one woman sits on the 11-member board ofAlibaba, the e-commerce giant. At Baidu, a search company, one of its six board members is a woman. AtTencent, a games and social media conglomerate, there are none. By comparison, Twitter has three women on its nine-person board. At Facebook, two of its nine directors are women.

男性主导着科技行业的最高层。在中国的电商巨头阿里巴巴,11名董事会成员只有 1 名女性。而搜索引擎公司百度,五名董事会成员中一名女性都没有。在游戏和社交媒体企业集团腾讯,董事会中也没有女性的一席之地。相比之下,Twitter 的 9名董事会成员包括 3 名女性。Facebook 的 9 人董事中有 2 人是女性。

Like many other businesses, China's tech companies are blunt about gender bias in their job ads. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have repeatedly published recruitment ads boasting that there are "beautiful girls" working for the companies, according to Human Rights Watch, a New York-based rights watchdog.


Alibaba said the company has clear guidelines on providing equal opportunity regardless of gender and "will conduct stricter reviews of the recruiting advertisements to ensure compliance with our policy." It also said that one-third of the 18 founders of Alibaba are women and that female leaders account for one-third of the company's management positions.

阿里巴巴表示,该公司对不论性别提供平等就业机会方面有明确的指导方针,并“将对招聘启事进行更严格的审查,以确保其符合我们的政策”。该公司还表示,在阿里巴巴的 18 名创始人中,三分之一是女性,且女性领导占公司管理职位的三分之一。

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