The Roots Of The Gender Inequality Problem In China

The Roots Of The Gender Inequality Problem In China


The roots of the gender inequality
problem in China “Both men and women should feel free to
be sensitive Both men and women should feel free to
be strong It is time that we all perceive gender &
a special not as two opposing set of ideals,” said the british actress, model,
and activist, Emma Watson. How have the dynasties of china lead to
inequalities among genders in China? Many people may wonder: why patriarchy? According to wikipedias definition,
“Patriarchy is a social system in which males hold primary power.” “Scholars believe the emergence of patriachy was closely linked to early urbanization,”
as stated by the textbook, Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past (AP EDITION) There are many theories on
why organization might have led to the creation of patriarchy. One of the theories is that, “The
transition to intensive agriculture characteristic of early cities, led to
practices that emphasized women’s roles as produces of children who could
provide the work force necessary for such large-scale agriculture,” the
textbook explain. Women would spend most of their time on
their children that they would not have time and energy for heavy agricultural
work. Another popular reason is that, “As power
and wealth grew, the desire to keep such power and wealth within particular
families, led to increased anxieties about ensuring the lineage of all family
members. Since it was impossible for men to ensure the paternity of their
children men began controlling women’s movements, morality and access to other
men to the assumption of political control, laws, veiling, and seclusion,” as stated by the historians. All these
thing, lead to the seclusion of women and the
idea that women are supposed to be obedient towards men. Due to these
theories, many scholars believe that urbanization
is what caused the growth of patriarchy. From the beginning of China’s dynastic
cycle until today, the patriarchal social system has caused many inequalities
among genders originating from the Han, Song, and Qing Dynasties. First, the Han Dynasty has caused
discrimination among genders in many ways. During the Han Dynasty, the
Confucian belief became very popular. Confucianism puts everyone in their
proper relationship, which meant that women were put below men. “A bride serves her husband just as she served her father her voice cannot be heard nor can her body or shadow be seen With
her husband’s father and elder brothers she has no conversation,” as stated by the Old Belief of Family
Instructions of The Grandfather. This is saying that women are inferior
men, are unable to communicate and understand, and are usually forgotten or
left in the shadows. The idea that women are lower than men
has been enriched in the Chinese society. “A Beijing-based private tutor company
refused to employ CaoJu, a recent graduate, on the basis of being female,” according to an article written by
Steinfeld. This shows how much female inequality actually affects women in
their daily life. The Book of Rites and The Three
Obediences and Four Virtues are just some of the books that came out during
the Han Dynasty that would teach women on how to be a proper wife. Specifically, The Book of Rites contains
rituals for all kinds of occasions in a strictly classified feudal society. For
example, “Married sisters could not eat at the same table with their brothers”
explained the e-library article by Gao. These rights encouraged and would teach women virtues desirable by men, such as, quietness, obedience, good manners,
personal neatness, industry, ability to cook, to spin, to sew, respect for the
husband’s parents, kindness to the husband’s brothers, and the courtesy to
husband’s friends,” said Gao. These books made women into the best wives that can
be from a male perspective. The desire for women to work in the kitchen has
been passed onto this century. Steinfield explained that, “In 2013, a total of 1.72 million men bought
gifts for women in the 10 days leading up to International Women’s Day. Most of
the gifts included beauty vouchers and kitchen supplies.” This shows that the ideas from The Book Of Rites got passed on to this generation. Throughout the Han Dynasty, “The birth of
a girl became a cause of regret because it was not a son,” announced the article
Chinese Women. The birth of a girl in the traditional Chinese family was never as
welcomed at that of a boy. The birth of a boy was called “big
happiness”, while the birth of a girl was called “small happiness”. “If the firstborn
was a girl, it would be a great disappointment to
the family. If the second child was also a girl, the family would grieve. And the birth of
a third daughter in line would be a tragedy for the family and disastrous to
the mother who would be blamed and despised,” said Gao. This shows that women were clearly
treated unequally from the day that they were born, and for the rest of their
lives. Today in China because of the one-child policy, there is a growing issue of “leftover
women”. In china, women are conventionally viewed as having an incomplete life if
they remain unwed and our pressured into marrying in their 20s. The one-child
policy in China has distorted the country’s gender balance. Although there is a big focus on
leftover women, in reality, there should be a greater focus on leftover men
since there are more women than men and, “Statistics show that by 2020, 24
million Chinese men will be left with no chinese women to marry,” explained The
Voice of America News. Even though the real victims in this
issue are men, women are seen as the victims because of
the ideology of the need to be married, that has traveled throughout the Chinese
dynasties. In conclusion, during the Han Dynasty, women were put
down because of Confucian beliefs, because of The Book of Rites the taught
women how to be desirable to men, and because the birth of a girl was
sorrowful. Moreover, the Song Dynasty has caused injustice in today’s gender in
many ways. During the Song Dynasty, foot-binding became popular. “For years,
foot-binding was a process in which generations of chinese women endured a
practice when as children their feet were systematically broken and shaped in
such a way that they resembled hooves,” explained Schiavenza. Women had to be tortured just so that they could be appealing to
men. “If a woman even wanted a chance of getting married, she would have to get
her feet bound because a girl who refused such binding would be told that
if she did not do it, no man would want her,” Gao explained. That ideology in my opinion is insane because it shows that in women, physical qualities were more important
than who they were as a person. After the Qing Dynasty fell, foot binding became
unpopular. This change in fashion suddenly had a perverse side effect. A
lot of girls who had had their feet bound in order to become marriageable,
suddenly found themselves abandoned by their husbands because
foot-binding was no longer fashionable. Worse, “In bigger cities some people would catch
women with bound feet and cut off their bindings. A humiliation because these
women would never ever show their bare feet to anyone, not even their husbands.
For them, the process that began with a lot of
pain and tears likewise ended with pain and tears,” Schiavenza reported. This just adds onto the craziness of this process. Girls were forced into ruining their
feet by a monstrous process, and then would be told that it was no longer
popular. Imagine how one would feel in a situation like that. I think that it would feel like their
whole world had crumbled right in front of them. Also, women who killed themselves after
their husband’s death were greatly honored. According to the article Chinese Women, “It was not uncommon for a widow to
commit suicide. Some famous suicides had honor heaped on them. When husbands died, the women felt the need to commit
suicide due to the stigma attached to re-marriage. But when a wife died it
was expected of men to quickly remarry.” The double standard is the peak of
inequality. Today in many countries including China, it is a requirement that
women be a virgin on her wedding night. This requirement is so absolute that,
“Some women who are not virgins reportedly undergo a surgical procedure
that stimulates virginity for the wedding night,” revealed The Human Rights
Violence Against Women and Economic Development elibrary article. Just because it is
wanted for women to be a virgin on her wedding night, women have to go under the knife to
appeal to those requirements which is insane because inot only are surgeries is dangerous,
but virginity should not be that big of a deal. During the Song Dynasty, Neo-Confucianism developed. Neo-Confucianism is a chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism.
“Neo-Confucian interpretations further reinforced male authority and patrilineal customs,” explained the article Women and Confucianism. Some of
Neo-Confucianism sayings include, “A woman’s duty is not to control or take
charge and woman’s greatest duty is to produce a son,” the article Women and Confucianism
mentioned. Neo-Confucianism was just another way of putting women down. A book written in relation to Neo-Confucianism called The Book of Filial Pity For Women
describes the way a woman should treat her husband. “From the time her hair is
arranged and she meets him during the wedding ceremony, she maintains the formality appropriate
between an official and the ruler. When helping him wash or serving food, she maintains the relationship appropriate between father and child,” Campion explained. The role of women was clearly to serve her husband and to bear him sons so that his linneage may
continue. In conclusion, during the Song Dynasty, women were
forced into foot-binding, suicide, and serving ones husband. Lastly, the Qing Dynasty has caused imparity among genders today in many ways. Throughout the Qing Dynasty, rape became a big issue. When a woman was raped it was very hard to prove that they were
victims. NG Vivien explained that, “For the crime of rape to be irrefutably
established, the victim must provide evidence that she had struggled against
her assailant throughout the entire ordeal. There would need to be witnesses, bruises
and lacerations on her body and torn clothing.” Rape is still such a big issue today
that i would like to say that if you’re raped, please go to the hospital so that the
DNA of the rapist may be acquired. Please do not allow the rapist to go
free to keep on raping just because you are embarrassed. You are not alone. Moreover, when a woman agreed to have sexual intercourse, but then would change her mind during, the sex was not considered rape, but one of “illicit intercourse by mutual consent”, in
which case the women would be subject to punishment,” NG revealed. That would happen because
the women would be considered a “fornicator” since she had agreed to have sexual
intercourse in the first place. Even if the sex was consensual at the
start but then one of the partners changed their mind, it does not make the sex okay. If the other partner continues even
though the other does not want to, it becomes rape, and rape is wrong.
Moreover, the custom of a crying marriage was prevalent during the Qing Dynasty.
Before a wedding, women would cry. “The bride begins to cry
a month before the wedding. As the night falls, the bride walks
inside the hall and weeps for about an hour. 10 days later, her mother joins her,
crying together with her. Another 10 days later, the grandmother joins the daughter
and mother to cry together with them. The sisters and aunts of the bride, if
she has any, also have to join the crying,” as stated by the Crying Marriage article.
This tradition was a way to set up the happiness of the wedding, via falsely sorrowful word. However many of these brides were part of arranged marriages. That is where the bride and
groom are selected by the families for profitable reasons. And, “These brides
would cry over their unsatisfactory marriage and even their miserable life,” The article Crying Marriage explained. Arranged marriages can be very stressful for both of the parties, but it can be
much more stressful for the bride for many reasons. One of those reasons I
explain in my next point. In the Qing Dynasty, women were put on the market. One example would be that once married, a
woman would stay in her husband’s life no matter how invaluable she made herself. But if she were to be widowed, the rest of the family can conspire to sell her for
cash,” as stated by Campbell, even though it
was illegal. Sometimes, the women sold would have been previously bought by the family selling the woman. That is to say that sometimes
in arranged marriages, the bride would be bought. There also, according to Campbell, was
a market in fertile women to provide children tomen whose wives
had not had offspring. The price of the woman would not depend on her age. It would depend on how healthy and fertile
the wife would be, Somer clarified. These women would be sold
continuously throughout the Qing Dynasty and they had no choice in it. In conclusion, during the Qing Dynasty
women were raped, were forced to cry before weddings, and
were sold. Throughout the Chinese Dynastic cycle, the patriarchal social system caused many gender inequalities originating from the Han,
Song and Qing dynasties, which still affect the Chinese society today. The quote by Emma Wattson explains that
equality does not mean one gender is higher than the rest. It means that all genders are treated
with equal respect, which is why it is called equality and not inequality. The
issue of inequality in China is important to the rest of the world
because the problem is not only prominent in China. All countries in the
world have some sort of inequality, although some have it worse than the
rest. Gender equality will provide for a society in which all members have equal
opportunities to reach their full potential. A way to fix the female inequality would
be by fixing the inequality issues in employment by employing women and
reducing gender gaps in the payment. This would provide a fair opportunity to all
genders to do what they desire without worrying about inequality. Another way would be by combating
violence against women and girls. If the violence is prevented, then women would
begin to be seen as equals. Only when we fix gender inequalities, may
we call ourselves as civil society.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

1 thought on “The Roots Of The Gender Inequality Problem In China

  1. Blaming one child policy for gender ratio imbalance is wrong and is buying into the patriarchal idea that sons are inherently more valuable.

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