The Women in China: History, Role and Changes in This 21st Century

Topics: Marriage, People's Republic of China, Communism Pages: 7 (2262 words) Published: June 22, 2011


1-History of female oppression

a.Traditional role of Confucianism
b.Married life
c.May fourth movement

2-Domestic life of a Chinese woman

a.Foot binding
b.Trafficking of women
c.Confucianism and communism
d.Population control

3-Chinese women in the workplace



This study on women in China examines the role and status of Chinese women relative to the political and cultural changes that have taken place in the 21st century as a consequence of globalization. Globalization refers to the interaction and integration of people, products, cultures and governments between various nations around the globe. Globalization affected women's rights and the gender hierarchy in China, in aspects of domestic life such as marriage and primogeniture, as well as in the workplace. These changes altered the quality of life and the availability of opportunities to women at different junctures throughout the modern globalization process. The dynamics of gender inequity are correlated with the ideological principles held by the ruling political regime. The imperial era (221-206 BCE) was dominated by the social paradigm of Confucianism, which was a pervasive philosophy throughout the Orient. Confucian ideals emphasized morality, character, social relationship, and the status quo. Confucius preached ren (humanity) and the equality and educability of all people; Neo-Confucianists and Imperial leaders used his beliefs in social hierarchy, particularly in the family setting, for the physical and social oppression of women. As the Chinese government began to re-assimilate themselves into the global community in the late 19th to early 20th century, it shifted away from conventional Confucian ideals and women’s role in society changed as well. After Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China in 1949, a change in traditional gender roles came about. Mao’s death marked the beginning of the current communist administration and an influx of international communications in the areas of commerce, politics and social ideals. Since the 1980s, under the new communist party, the women’s rights movement has gained momentum and has become a national issue and a sign of modernization. In rural areas, women traditionally work alongside their family to produce crops like tea and rice. In urban areas, women work in factories, living away from home. Most of these factory workers are young girls that send their income to their families. To help maintain the rights of women in factories, labor unions and organizations were built. In their homes, women take care of their children and cook.

1-History of female oppression

Traditional roles and Confucianism

From the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 CE) until the modern period (1840–1919), scholars and rulers developed a male-dominated patriarchal society in China. Confucianism was at the root of the development of the patriarchal society in China, and emphasized the distinctions between the sexes and the roles they have within the family. These ideologies continued through the Tang dynasty (618-907), and girls were taught from a very young age to be submissive to their fathers, then to their husbands, and later to their sons – sancongside. During the Song Dynasty (960-1297), Confucian scholars further developed the patriarchal tradition with more restrictions for females, including foot binding for girls at a very young age

Married life

The traditional Chinese marriage system is organized by the parents of the groom and bride in order to obtain alliances between the two families to ensure the continuance of the family line. There were three types of marriages that emerged in the late Chou Dynasty (951-960). In these three marriages, the Chinese woman's main function was to produce children. The first marriage was called a capture marriage, in which the groom would go to his prospective bride's house at dusk to "kidnap" her. The...
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