In a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of experts based in 19 of the world’s most populous cities, Shanghai was ranked the fifth-safest for women, after London, Tokyo, Paris, and Moscow.
Prominent women’s issues experts in each city — including academics, NGO and healthcare employees, policymakers, and social commentators — were surveyed on four dimensions of overall wellbeing: risk of sexual violence, access to healthcare, cultural practices harmful to women, and economic opportunity.
According to the results, released Monday, women living in Shanghai face the third lowest risk of rape, sexual attack, or harassment; claim the second most robust economic prospects; and enjoy better access to healthcare than their counterparts in all but three cities.
Shanghai’s cumulative score is deflated by its middling result in the “cultural practices harmful to women” metric. Reuters does not specify exactly which aspects of Shanghai’s culture poll respondents found problematic. “Female genital mutilation, early, child or forced marriage, [and] female infanticide” are the only “potentially harmful cultural practices” identified in the survey methodology. While few of these would seem to apply to Shanghai, the cultural pressures exerted on women in urban China to marry early — and the stigma of the “leftover” woman applied to those who choose not to — may have been a factor.