Chinese girls want to break down barriers to mining

Young female Chinese activists are challenging Chinese labour law, the national education ministry, and schools like China's prestigious Mining and Technology University in Jiangsu that only allow men into their programs.

Chinese women are banned from studying a number of subjects, "from tunnel engineering to navigation," allegedly out of respect for women's safety.

It's "blatant gender discrimination," argued one student activist, Xiao Meili.

"No-one had stood up to these universities before, and told them these policies were wrong. Why didn't anyone want to change anything? It really made me very angry."

But senior government officials and professors are not willing to bend:

"China's labour law suggests mining work is unsuitable for women, so we ask women to refrain from applying to our major," says senior mining professor, Shu Jisen.

"Some jobs are really inappropriate for women…if they force their way into these jobs, they will waste energy that can be better used elsewhere."

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