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Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Huawei have been named among a host of Chinese companies accused of using sexist recruitment practices in a report by Human Rights watch (HRW).

The Chinese tech giants were named in the report, ‘Only Men Need Apply: Gender Discrimination in Job Advertisements in China’ which found Chinese companies have published adverts inviting “male only” applicants and “aesthetically pleasing” women applicants.

The report analysed more than 36,000 job advertisements that were posted on recruitment sites, social media and company websites during 2013 and 2018.

Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu have been quick to respond to the report and have apologised for the incidents, with the organisations pledging to address gender discrimination within the company. 

Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement, “Sexist job ads pander to the antiquated stereotypes that persist within Chinese companies.  These companies pride themselves on being forces of modernity and progress, yet they fall back on such recruitment strategies, which shows how deeply entrenched discrimination against women remains in China.”

China prides itself as being a gender equal society buoyed by the ideas of Mao Zedong and the cultural revolution in 1949, when he famously said, “Women hold up half the sky”. The Drum explored gender equality in China’s advertising industry last year and spoke to some of the many women in senior management positions.