The Change of the Role of Women “Women can hold up half the sky’ This famous quote was said by Mao Sedona, a man who understood and fought for women equality. In modern China, women can fully participate in all aspects of society. Their standard of living is on the rise. However, Chinese women did suffer a lot from Inequality In the past. Historically, the life of women was very difficult. They might not make It through as a baby. Sometimes a baby girl would be abandoned If her family didn’t want her. Even If they were lucky. Most of them couldn’t get education, and they shall obey their husbands for their hole life.
They had no say In who they wanted to marry. As time progresses, women’s life has surely gone better. There are lots of remarkable regress and at the same time progress during 1900 to 1997. In ancient China, since men were allowed to have multiple wives, many women were served as concubines. Women were considered as sexual partners and especially, tools for giving births. During Tang dynasty, Emperor Gao Z was thought to have 40,000 women in his palace just to ensure he had as many offspring as possible. Women weren’t allowed to receive education.
They were supposed to only take care of their households for the rest of their lives. Also, there was custom for Chinese women was that they all had to bind their feet. Women was thought to be beautiful only when they had small feet. According to Han Quoin in Northern China’s Shania province, the last Chinese woman that has her feet bound, she had her feet broken and bound when she was at only the age of two. It took her six months to get used to the pain and walk properly. In 1902, there was a ban on feet binding but it was thought to be ineffective since laws ere ignored and women still suffer from the pain.
Even so, a minority of women had started to have the will to escape from this unfair life style. Dowager Empress Xix, was surely one of those brave people. She started as a concubine of the emperor, who slowly made her way up until she was in charge of China for forty-seven years. She passed away in 1908. She once considered herself as the most powerful and richest sovereign in the world. There were one big events during year 1912 to 1949, which is the World War II. It was a hard time for Chinese women. Many of them were detained by the Japanese army and forced Into prostitution.
Those were called comfort women. They were abused and treated badly everyday. As stated In a book titled-Chinese Comfort Women”, “Recent research In China suggests that Chinese women accounted for about half of the estimated total of 400,000 victims of the military comfort women system. ” After the war, they were afraid to stand up for themselves since they were considered as disgraces to their family, rather than being taken care for. Even so, the good thing was that after the end of King Dynasty, women darted to fight for their rights. They would get education from universities.
Many of them soon found their careers as teachers, writers, or even political activists. One of a famous inspiring Chinese women was Song Mining Ling, “Mother of the Nation” and the wife of Sun Hat San. After Mayo’s success, she had chosen to stay in China. Her goal had switched from freeing the People of China to gaining rights for women in organization which focused on the improvement of women’s conditions. For instance, girls’ schools were set up to provide women education and skills to work, according to book doltishness’s movements in Twentieth-Century Taiwan”.
She was also founder of several welfare or civil right organizations in China. She was seemed as a significant figure of women empowerment in China. There’s also one huge debate in 1919, when there was a news of women committed suicide due to forced marriage. Mao Sedona described it as the “rottenness of the marriage system and the darkness of the social system” This shows that women’s rights had slowly gain attentions and solutions by higher authorities and the public. During 1949-1976, when the
Communist Party gained control of China, Mayo’s one of the important action was to improve Chinese women’s conditions. In 1949,the women labor force rose to 44% in China. (great leap forward)Len 1950, there was a Land Reform Act. Its purpose was to improve the standard of living of the peasants in China through land redistribution. The Land Reform Act benefited women that they had the chance to own properties under their names. Due to a new marriage law established in 1950, unmarried, divorced, or widowed women could have the rights to hold land.
Another event ring this time period was the Cultural Revolution (CRY). This is hard to identify as purely progress or regress. During the CRY, young people were told by Mao to form Red Guard units, whose Job was to criticize educated people. Yes, many women had faced violence, forced labor, or even death if they were considered as “envoy’s China but at the same time, young women were encouraged to participate in the violence as Red Guard. Some of them were having the same rights as men even though on a violent purpose, while some suffered from this revolution.
Also, there ere many more laws introduced to ensure women’s rights. For instance, men weren’t allowed to have more than one wife. After Mayo’s control over China, the reform and opening up policy established by Eden Gapping has a lot effects on women empowerment too. In 1992, the percentage of women who have Jobs for over 15 years rose to 72. 33%. They took up half the labor force in rural areas. They could look for Jobs that don’t require much skills. Women could now bring incomes to their families. However, the traditional idea of gender difference doesn’t seemed to be moved from the Chinese completely.
When the One Child Policy, which every family was only allowed to have one child, was introduced to control China’s population, many baby girls are abandoned even now. This is because many Chinese still think that women are less valuable than men. Now, in modern China, women can’t be more different than their ancestors. During the first half of the twentieth century, there weren’t much changes in the role of women. Rules established didn’t get to the root of the problem. When it got to the late twentieth century, more effective changes ere made by both the government and the public.
Women in modern China play an important role on China’s work force. They now contribute a lot to every aspects of China. More than half of the world’s richest women are Chinese, including the top three. In my opinion, the role of women has faced a lot of regresses during each time periods but overall, they have gain many rights and respects by the governments. There are still bumps in the road as many traditional Chinese don’t agree with women empowerment. I believe in the future, true gender equality in China will be