—Since 1949, only five women have served on the Politburo. Three were the spouses of revolutionary leaders, including Mao Zedong's wife, Jiang Qing. Former Vice Premier Wu Yi, who was ranked by Forbes as the world's second most powerful woman in 2007, was also a member. Currently serving is State Councilor Liu Yandong.
—Provincial party secretaries are ranked higher than governors. There have been just two female provincial party secretaries since 1949: Sun Chunlan, current head of Fujian province, and Wan Shaofen, who led Jiangxi for three years in the 1980s.
—There have been three female governors and one regional chairwoman since 1949: Gu Xiulian of Jiangsu province, Uyunqimg of the Inner Mongolia region, Song Xiuyan of Qinghai province and Li Bin, the current governor of Anhui province.
—Officials are mainly recruited from the ranks of the Communist Party, a predominantly male organization. Only 23 percent of party members are female, or about 19 million.
—Communist Party statistics say that in 2009 women cadres accounted for 11 percent of the leadership positions at ministerial or provincial levels, 13.7 percent at local and departmental levels, and 16.6 percent in county-level offices. This is compared to 8 percent, 10.8 and 15.1 percent in 2000.