Female solidarity based on Chinese social media Weibo during COVID-19
thesisposted on 23.11.2020, 09:21 by Chenyao Zhang
COVID-19 has plunged the world into a state of tension and instability, and female medical workers play a vital role on the frontlines. However, policies on global health governance may ignore gender perspectives and may overlook the physiological needs of females during times of emergency. It is important to protect the physical and mental health of front-line female medical staff during the COVID-19. The Chinese volunteer organisation Stand By Her is committed to donating female sanitary products to female medical staff in Hubei Province, China, to alleviate the problem of shortage of supplies during menstruation. This volunteer team is more than 95% female. The team’s successful experience of female solidarity has enabled front-line female medical workers to receive supplies and emotional support. The team also appeals to society through social media about gender discrimination in the workplace and the need to recognise gender differences and eliminate female shame over menstruation. This research focuses on Stand By Her volunteer team in China to examine the effects of digital female activism and the development of female solidarity. This research explores in greater depth how gender issues have developed in China on social media. The study used ethnographic methods to conduct in-depth interviews with front-line female medical workers and Stand By Her volunteer teams. Research and analysis were carried out according to the analysis framework and repeatedly adjusted in the interviews and coding by the researcher. This study found three key factors for the successful implementation of digital female activism: establish a well-structured framework and a common goal to mobilise the empathy of the members and an appreciation for the contribution of the members; establish the cohesion of the female on social media to develop the female solidarity; the formation of a strong community to establishment of a new identity and trust for females. Finally, this research also analyses gender issues and their development in China through social media platforms and asserts that the success of digital female activism has its inevitability and distinctiveness. The inevitability of the organisation's success is reflected in the organisation's clear requirements for gender equality, which meets three levels of needs. However, the distinctiveness of its success is due to the unique circumstances of COVID-19 and the positive development of feminism on social media in the past two years. In conclusion, although gender issues in China may still be stigmatised, this study also shows an optimistic attitude towards the development of gender issues on social media in China.
- Loughborough University London