The case “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” tells a story of Jin Xiaoqin. Daughter of farmers, Jin managed to graduate from school and to get into college against all odds. She was lucky to be admitted to the foreign studies college in the capital, and the girl was dreaming of diplomatic career. However, she was not welcomed in the diplomatic corps because of her gender. Jin had a successful teaching career at the Foreign Affair College. Her position provided her with several benefits, and Jin had opportunities to study abroad. However, her main goal was not achieved. She had worked all her life as a college teacher and did not become a diplomat. Despite all proclamations of equal opportunities for women, she was unwanted because of her gender; later, she was rejected due to lack of practical experience. The Chinese government had proved its inefficiency to provide well-educated women with career perspectives.
Jin wanted to become a part of the Chinese diplomatic corps; however, it was unusual for women to work there. Because of gender stereotypes, women were more likely to get a job in “peaceful” social or health services, not in “serious” spheres like foreign affairs. A few women managed to be assigned to work overseas, and they were seen as weak and unreliable. It was very rare for a woman to be promoted to higher rank, and in the early 2000s, only forty-five women had high diplomatic position. Despite all her achievements and talents, Jin did not succeed in becoming one of them.
According to the case, Jin was one of a few women who got proper education to work at the prestigious Foreign Affair College. She was assigned to study at the United States twice, and accomplishing American programs made her a perfect candidate for diplomatic job overseas. However, she did not want to get involved in struggle for embassy job and remained a teacher. Later, Jin reached the highest academic rank and became a professor, but the diplomatic corps still rejected her. After all, she was offered a job at a joint venture, and Jin had to decide if she wanted to get involved in a risky international business affair.
Despite legal proclamation of equal rights for both genders, Chinese society remained sexist. The case illustrates that in everyday life even well-educated people were guided by gender stereotypes. Jin’s husband, for example, felt offended by her intellectual superiority and professional success. He felt uneasy with being dependent on her job-related benefits. When they had their child, Gong was sure it was Jin’s duty to take care of him. Although Jin was lucky to have her and Gong’s parents helping her with the child, not every Chinese woman could have such assistance. If Jin had applied to diplomatic position, she would have been separated with her beloved son due to diplomatic policy. Later, Jin’s parents grew old and became dependent on their daughter. She had to consider taking care of them because there were no official programs supporting older people. To sum up, Chinese women could not fulfill their professional potential because of numerous sexist restrictions.
Overall, Jin’s story illustrates how gender stereotypes ruin people’s lives. She was hardworking, smart, and dedicated; however, she could not become a diplomat because of her gender. Despite official proclamations and certain improvements, China could not offer its female citizens nothing better than the role of mother or social worker. Even good education and privileged status did not help Jin to achieve her ultimate goal. Millions of women have wasted their potential because of sexist approach to education and employment. To prevent that, the Chinese government should have done something more substantial than releasing resolutions.