Women of China
Today is International Women's Day! Whilst it is celebrated across the world, in China the female population, who "hold up half the sky", are appreciated with gifts, showing respect for the women who are working harder than ever to build equality outside traditional roles.
Although there are now many inspiring women in China who have broken through the "glass ceiling", we've picked a few stories and triumphs to inspire you on this celebratory day.
Jane Zhang - Popstar
After rising to fame on Chinese Talent show 'Super Girl', Jane Zhang is on the verge of becoming the first Chinese female pop star to break into the global pop industry. After recording multiple tracks in the U.S., Zhang was the only female Asian singer to be invited to sing vocals on the World Peace One charity single with 99 other famous voices in 2007.
Since then, Jane has continued to break through into the international pop industry by singing the theme tunes for both Terminator Genisys in 2015 with Big Sean, and for The Great Wall in 2016.
Jane's ability to mix traditional Chinese pop with contemporary R'n'B in English has meant a soar in popularity globally, and her most recent debut "Dust My Shoulders Off" was not only a hit being produced by Timbaland, but struck a chord with cultures globally through it's creative, arty video representing the music scenes through different famous paintings.
Wu Yi - Politician
Now retired, Wu Yi was regarded as one of the most successful and powerful women in China during her years as a politician up until 2008. Graduating in Beijing with a major in oil refinery engineering, Yi worked her way up from a technician to general secretary in petrochemical engineering and technology, defying all odds and gender stereotypes.
Known as the "Iron Lady" in the Chinese media, Yi was formidable in her work and most known for her takeover as Minister for the Ministry of Health. Wu Yi never married either, another common importance for Chinese women as she worked throughout her life. In 2004, 2005 and 2007, Forbes regarded Wu Yi as the 2nd most powerful in the world before her complete retirement from politics and the public eye.
Guo Pei - Fashion Designer
Guo Pei is not only the first woman, but first born and bred Asian designer to have been invited to join the "Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture" as a guest member. Inspired by "life and love", Guo's designs stand out in China with her imperialistic and luxurious designs. Guo had studied design in Beijing before working in an independently owned clothing company, and finally setting up her own brand in 1997.
Guo was known most popularly for dressing Chinese celebrities, in particular the 2008 Beijing Olympics, until one of her most lavish and unique gowns was worn by singer Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala - propelling Guo Pei into the global design-sphere. Perfectly combining western and traditional Chinese culture into her gowns, Guo Pei became a huge success and has gone on to take part in Fashion Weeks across the globe, as well as being included in Times 100 Most Influential People 2016 breaking barriers in fashion and feminism.
Deng Yaping - Sports Woman
Deng Yapin is regarded as one of the greatest athletes in Chinese history, with 4 Olympic and 6 world championships to her name in table tennis - winning her first national championship at only 13 years old!
Deng was firstly denied a place onto the Chinese national table tennis team due to her height (4''11), but her determination and talent scored her place on the team and she has since gone on to become one of the greatest female players in history, ranking top female player in the world from 1991-1998 and Chinese Sports Personality of the Century in 1999. As most sports careers are shorter in nature, Yapin retired at the age of 24 with 18 Olympic medals to her name and became part of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Committee. But that wasn't enough for Yapin, as she went on to study for her bachelors degree, followed by a masters at Nottingham University and a Phd at Cambridge University.
Lucy Peng - Billionaire Business-woman
A former economics professor who stepped down to become a co-founder of one of the biggest e-commerce giants around, Alibaba, Peng Lei is a woman who made it onto Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women in the World and is a woman with experience in everything from finance to HR.
Overseeing around 35,000 employees in Alibaba, Peng worked on different employment models in HR- the department also created by herself and made innovations in mobile commerce technology. Peng became a billionaire in 2015 whilst changing to working for Ant Financials, founded again by herself to support smaller businesses with some of the biggest investors in the Chinese Industry. From a professor to a co-founder to a CEO billionaire - Peng is definitely an amazing example of female power and determination.