Wu Guixian
Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
In office
PremierZhou EnlaiHua Guofeng
Personal details
Born1938 (age 82–83)
Gongyi, Henan, China
Political partyCommunist Party of China

Wu Guixian (Chinese: 吴桂贤; pinyin: Wú Guìxián; born 1938) is a Chinese politician who served as China's first female vice premier from January 1975 to September 1977. Originally a worker at a state-owned cotton factory in Xianyang, she was appointed by party leader Mao Zedong after becoming the factory's deputy director and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.[1]

Early life and career

Wu was born in Gongyi, Henan Province to a large peasant family of farmers consisting of nine siblings. In the wake of the Chinese famine of 1942–43 the family fled to Xianyang, Shaanxi where her father found temporary work. To earn the family more money Wu joined a cotton factory recruitment program in 1951 at the age of 13. Child labour laws at the time mandated recruits be at least 16 however Wu lied about her age and began work at a state-owned textile factory in the city.[2] A few years later in 1955 she joined the Chinese Communist Youth League and soon after the Chinese Communist Party at the age of 20. Eventually she was promoted to deputy director of the Northwest China cotton factory and party leaders arranged for her to study at Northwest University where she graduated in 1968.[1][3]

Political career

In 1969 Wu attended the 9th National Congress and was elected a member of Central Committee of the Communist Party of China serving as deputy secretary of the CPC Shaanxi Provincial Committee. Around this time party leader Chairman Mao planned to promote grassroots officials to help run state affairs following the damage caused to the party during the Cultural Revolution. Wu was elected to serve as Chinese vice premier in 1975, becoming the first woman to hold its office. In 1977 Wu resigned from office and returned to Shaanxi to serve as deputy secretary of the Party committee of Northwest China Cotton Factory.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Huang, Ying. "China's First Female Vice Premier Fights to Reduce Poverty". All-China Women's Federation. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  2. ^ "吴桂贤:从纺织工到中国首任女副总理" [Wu Guixian: From Textile Worker to China's First Female Vice Premier] (in Chinese). People's Daily. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  3. ^ "首位女副总理吴桂贤回忆进政治局:像鸟被关进笼子里" [First Deputy Prime Minister Wu Guixian recalls entry into Politburo] (in Chinese). iFeng. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2017.