News and Travel Editor
This Wednesday, women across the world will be marking the 22nd official International Women’s Day, as recognised by the UN, and it’s set to be the biggest yet. Whether out marching (as women on both sides of the Atlantic have planned), enjoying free access to museum (like the ladies of Italy), or being getting pampered by your spouse (its a bigger day in Russia than Valentine’s Day), today is the day to celebrate the sisterhood’s achievements.
Here at China Icons, we’ve been lucky enough to film with a whole host of inspiring women from every walk of Chinese life. To celebrate this year’s theme of ‘women in the changing world of work’, we’ve handpicked our favourites from our channel – from exceptional engineers on the world’s largest telescope to architects and actresses on some of China’s most high profile projects.
1) Zhang Ziyi Meets China Icons
Look familiar? That’s probably because Zhang Ziyi has starred in one of the most successful Chinese films of all time, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Zhang Ziyi speaks to China Icons about her experiences as an actress, including how she prepares for a martial arts scene and working with John Woo’s The Crossing.
2) FAST: The World’s Largest Telescope
Probably one of the most inspiring stories on our list features Yao Rui, the chief engineer of the focus cabin on FAST. The telescope was built to better understand the origins of the universe and the Big Bang and could be described as one of the most exciting projects going on in science right now.
Yao Rui’s role is centred on the focus cabin, one of the most important pieces of kit on the telescope. The focus cabin receives the radio signals after they are reflected off the dish. Watch our video below to discover some of the challenges that arise for Yao Rui and how she deals with them.
3) Hangzhou’s Beautiful Bookstore and ‘one of China’s most promising designers’
Described by Forbes as one of China’s most promising designers, Hangzhou’s popular bookstore was designed by innovative architect Li Xiang. A massive 20,000 people visited the bookstore on opening day. Watch the video below to follow her journey from initial design.
4) Flamenco Pearl: The Life of a Chinese Flamenco Dancer
This short film documents the life of Zhao Zhen, a Chinese flamenco dancer who travelled the world to follow her biggest passion in life before re-settling in Beijing to start her own dance school.
5) China’s Green Roof Revolution
Ma Liya has designed a green roof in Beijing inspiring children to cultivate the garden and get closer to nature. From hand picking the perfect vegetation for the site to her research into different soil types, she is part of a movement leading China, and the world, to a greener future.
6) Fiona Reilly meets…
This was one of our favourite and first videos – Australian Fiona and the Miao ladies may be from different continents but they had a surprising amount in common. Fiona’s photo assignment introduced us to the stunning embroidery created by Miao women to the dishes in the region.
7) Coco’s Kitchen: Chinese Dumplings
How can we talk about the wonderful women of China without talking about our very own Coco? Coco brings some of the most authentic and delicious Chinese recipes straight to our kitchens. It was very difficult to pick, but we’ve chosen her recipe for Chinese dumplings as our favourite. Let us know which you’ll be trying out next!
For us, these women personified China’s innovation, creativity and passion. For more stories such as these, be sure to visit and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.