The professionalisation of thehumanitarian system versus theChinese societal expectations : What has hindered mainland Chinese citizens from pursuing careers in international humanitarian aid?

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Tema Genus

Abstract: The professionalisation of the humanitarian sector has led to an increasing number of its professional staff worldwide. However, working in humanitarian aid is not a popular career path in mainland China, and some humanitarian organisations have also struggled to recruit Chinese professionals. The thesis explores the challenges that mainland Chinese citizens face when pursuing their careers in the humanitarian sector. It strives to understand what may hinder Chinese from working in international humanitarian aid, dwelling on both the humanitarian recruitment criteria and the expectations of the Chinese society. The thesis is based on the semi-structured qualitative interviews that have been interpreted with the help of thematic analysis under the intersectional and decolonial feminist analytical framework. The study indicates that although there may not be obvious discrimination against people in the humanitarian recruitment process, many affecting factors, such as gender, class, nationality, and culture, create the asymmetrical power dynamics between societal influences in China and the recruitment requirements in the humanitarian sector. I have come to a conclusion that humanitarian organisations have failed to create a diverse and inclusive working environment that would allow people to have equal opportunities and competition. This thesis is meant to help humanitarian organisations adjust their DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) strategies by understanding the hidden factors of recruitment inequalities and via decolonising the humanitarian aid.

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