Liberation of Men's "Better Half"
Throughout history, stereotypes of women- ideological, ethnic, and sexual- seem to exist in all societies. Today and throughout history, women have benn viewed on many, many different ways. Throughout most of history, and in most cultures and societies, women were viewed as "the weaker half" and their purpose was to run the house and take care of things such as cooking and the kids. Via much reform in the United States, American women today are for the most part, viewed as equals to men, and given an equal chance to succeed in life. Unfortunately, many countries and regions of the world, even today, treat women terribly and with no respect.
The subject of women and their placement in Chinese society has been an ongoing topic for years, dating back to the beginning of China, as we know it. In China it has taken an entire political movement to reveal the importance of one half of the human race. In many books such as William Hinton's Fanshen, Jack Belden's China Shakes the World, and Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China, the changing placement of Chinese women is a major part of the story. Women fought and started working, women spoke out and marched and they stood up for themselves. The idea of women's Liberation (women obtaining equal status with men) in China was a long and hard fought struggle that took much fighting and brave people.
Women's Liberation in China began with the democratic revolution (attempt to overturn the feudal rule of a landlord class), and completed in the socialist revolution. With the increasing amount of bankruptcy in the rural economy over the past few years, men's domination over women has been weakened. "The authority of the husband is getting shakier every day". (Ching-Ling, 202)
The speed of the Women's Liberation movement closely resembled the advance of the democratic revolution. In 1930, women's status was apparently raised because of the eve of the war against Japanese aggression. At the time, there were already schools where co-education was established. Some, not just a few, were employed as doctors, teachers and hospital nurses. At this time, there were many women engaged in textile industries, but they were discriminated against because they received lower wages than their male counterparts.
At the end of the war against the Japanese, (around 1950) under the Communist government, the movement was accelerated. Women began to work in all different fields, even the military. Women gained economic independence. By completing their work successfully, women started to gain more and more respect for what they could do, not who they were. Women were devoted to their tasks; with much spirit to fulfill the needs of the Communist party. At this time the Minister of Justice and Public Health were both women.
Within the last 50 years or so, even more women enlisted themselves in the military, started work in many fields including the agricultural, transport, communication, mining and commerce fields. Whatever men can do in these fields, women proved that they can match their skills and sometimes better their counterparts. Today in China, by and large every woman who can work can take her place in society, under the idea of equal work for equal pay.
As in most cultures throughout history, women in Ireland were not treated equally until much reform and effort. As the country of Ireland has industrialized and urbanized, traditional ways have been challenged and changed, and every part of women's lives has been subject to scrutiny and change. The past thirty-five years has been a period of rapid change for women in Ireland.
The 1970's was a decade of debate and controversy about women and women's role in society. Awareness of women's issues increased awareness which started the desire for change by many females, particularly younger women in urban areas. The idea's of women's liberation was very...
Cited: - Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch. African Women. Boulder: Westview Press, 1997
- Young, Marilyn B., ed Women In China. Michigan: Center for Chinese Studies, The University of Michigan, 1993
- Beale, Jenny. Women In Ireland. Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1998
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