A Study of Political Ideological Background of Relationship Between Chinese Authoritarian State and Embedded Pluralism of Feminist Activism in Post-Mao Era – Analysis from the Marxist Perspective

Topics: Feminism, Women's rights, Gender equality Pages: 9 (2472 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Article - Asoke (Rocky) Mehera

A Study of Political Ideological Background of Relationship between Chinese Authoritarian State and Embedded Pluralism of Feminist Activism in Post-Mao Era – Analysis from the Marxist Perspective

The Field of Research/Topic of Investigation:

The core issue of my research is to examine how the Chinese state, public policies and feminist organizations are having a great impact on feminist activism in China. I am going to analyse the Chinese state in terms of its relations of power, class, social and economic groups from feminist perspective. My study will negate the notion that the close association to socialism and class issues is damaging to Chinese feminism. Actually, the so-called socialism of the CCP is placing the interests of party before those of women (Hom, 2000). State, being an instrument for subordination of women, tries to conduct a window-dressing through so-called progressive policies for lessening of the financial dependency of women on men. The process of the promotion of women’s interests within the state, either through the action of ‘femocrats’ (feminist bureaucrats) working from within the state system to empower women, or when the state itself acts in a way to further women’s status (Stetson and Mazur 1995). My research is focussed on the transitory decline of women’s status from Socialist Mao era to post-socialist Deng era. Actually, present Chinese state is only responsive to those ‘feminist’ demands that are not threatening, that may even help maintain the status quo and reforms often reinforce capitalist & materialist values (illustrating the flexibility of capitalism) without truly liberating women economically. While feminist organizations are enjoying ‘dependent autonomy’; the state is adopting an approach of booth collaboration and confrontation to contain the pressure groups. Actually, the state corporatism and embedded pluralism of the social organizations are paving the way for a situation, where the economic interests of Chinese women are being neglected by both state and non-state stakeholders. It is necessary to consider the allegiance and antagonism of the feminist organisations toward state while mapping policy influence on feminist organizations. Government Approach toward Feminist Organizations and Criticism of State to Solve Women’s Issues: The autonomy of the feminist organizations arise in part because of the limited capacity of central government to control them, and in part because of the fragmented and non-monolithic nature of the state, which enables individual bureaucratic patrons to protect particular organizations, especially officially-organised ones (Lu, 2012). Wary of the potential threat to its authority and rule, the government has adopted a policy of forestalling the formation of feminist organizations which might constrict its autonomy in formulating economic and social policies.

The Chinese state failed to provide an overall comprehensive legal and regulatory framework. Actually, “gender mainstreaming” demands that government should integrate a gender perspective in to evaluation of legislation and implementation of programs. The response of Government supported feminist organizations is quite passive and it is focused on the survival of enterprises at the expense of women workers benefits.

Key Challenges & Priorities for Gender Equality Interventions:

The key challenges on gender issues are as follows: feminization of poverty in both rural and urban areas, increasing inequality in the labour market in terms of income gaps, discrimination in hiring and unequal access to credit, and women’s participation in political decision-making and governance. The Chinese government and judiciary need to clarify whether or not equality rights have legal precedence over other rights, such as the enterprise’s right to economic efficiency (hiring and firing workers without consideration of gender equality provisions in the...

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