Running a women-themed bookstore in Shanghai has thrust Wang Xia into the ongoing debate over gender equality in China. Since 2020, her three-story Xinchao Bookstore has become a local cultural hub, running monthly book clubs on female works, women’s writing groups, and seminars on women’s issues. Wang, who grew up in traditional Henan province, moved to Shanghai at 20, found a job in banking, got married, and started a family. But, missing a space of her own, she quit her job at 40 in 2017 and threw herself back into the world of literature. Xinchao now has a reader community numbering more than 50,000, of whom around 80% are women aged between 30 and 50. “By having a women-friendly bookstore, we support women, we see their power, and we accompany women in their development,” she says.

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