Women's Rights in China by Annie Wallach -Abbamonte 8C

Is there gender equality in China?

In China, there is an unfortunate lack of gender equality. Whether it's false expectations for women, or the lack of women in politics, China has a long way to go in making sure women are treated equal to men. Things were suprisingly more equal back in the days of ancient China. Is it possible Gender Equality has gotten worse, since the days women could be considered "masters" (in Daoist tradition). This is proof Ancient China's legacy is not represented and shown in China's women's rights and gender equality. Concerning China, it's safe to say there is no gender equality.


In China, there are certain expectations of women. People expect young girls' main focus in life to be finding a husband and finding a family. Rather than encouraging young girls to try and pursue a career and to find success, they are being told their main priority is finding a husband. When Helen Gao, a young woman living in China was in school, one of her teachers sincerely urged her and the other female students to find a husband and make that their main focus, while another even offered to set her up with some "eligible bachelors". However, this is only one of the many unfortunate expectations of women in China. Another unfortunate expectation of women is the assumption that the women are to take care of the kids and clean the house. Some women with jobs and children have to give up their careers because they have to take care of the kids. The assumption that is being made about women here is, they are the only ones who have to take care of the kids, rather than the husband who's responsibility they are as well. This looks like the concept of the Rectification of Names. Except in this situation, all females main focus and priority to fulfill is being a wife and a caretaker. They should and must only focus on this, these responsibilities, they have because they are women.


All around the world today, there are powerful women, handling politics. However, China is not one of the places unfortunately. Even though there are women involved with politics, there aren't enough, especially when compared to the number of men. Feminists were disappointed in the ratio of men to women in the Central Commitee held by the Chinese Communists party. The ratio was 33 women to 350 men. The World Economic Forums Global Gender Gap Report for 2016 ranked China as the 99th out of 144. Even though there are a handful of women in China's politics, they are all spread out making it harder for them to make a real difference. There is no Mandate of Heaven that states this is how things should be. There is no physical or religious object or concept that chooses men over women as leaders. Women in China should have more power in politics, even back in ancient China, in Daoist traditions (in the Daodejing) , women were able and considered to be "masters".


This issue leaves me asking questions such as: Why don't the men share the responsibilities for the children with the women? (they are the parent as well.... ), In most places, things seem to evolve for the better over time, but has gender equality actually lessened since the days of ancient China? How many of the gender equality issues in China are legal issues and how many are issues with societies expectations? This issue is extremely important because all people are equal, and no matter the place, everyone should be treated like it. The fact things have taken a step backwards for equality in China since the ancient days, show and prove that it might be even harder for women and girls in China for the future.


Created with images by Boston Public Library - "China 'Hong Kong' (front)"

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