Women’s Rights in China

February 8, 2012

Dramatic changes in women’s rights have been achieved in a culture where for millennia women were stereotyped as inferior to men, had no rights and served as slaves, concubines and prostitutes. Marriages were arranged—sometimes at infancy.

In 1949, foot binding was abolished; the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) was formed and supported by China’s Communist Party (CCP). Change in China, as in the United States, has been a painful evolutionary process. However, the struggle for women to gain equality appears to have moved faster in China since the CCP came to power.

After the CCP was established in 1949, it took less than a year to liberate women and pass laws to speed this process along.

For a comparison, after the United States was established in 1776, it took one hundred and forty-four years until August 26, 1920 when the Congress voted in the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution giving women the right to vote.

At the 10th National Women’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in 2008, Deputy-Chairwoman HuangQingyi said, “Sex discrimination in employment should be eradicated and the income gap between men and women should be further narrowed.”

It was also been reported that domestic violence is a severe threat to women. Chinese authorities reported 50,000 complaints annually, according to figures released by the ACWF. The domestic violence fact sheet shows this is also a problem in the United States.


Role of Women in China Then and Now

Sexual discrimination was supposed to have been abolished in China back in 1949, when Chairman Mao Zedong famously announced, “women hold up half the sky”, but it wasn’t. It has only been a few years since China outlawed sexual harassment. Laws may be written to bring about change but change comes slowly.

Today, statistics show China has about 27,000 women and children’s rights protection agencies. However, China’s critics and enemies will only point out what they believe is wrong without giving credit to what has changed for the good of women in China.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on March 21, 2010


Ancient Feminism in China

February 6, 2012

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia says Feminism is a social movement that seeks equal rights for women.

The dates the Britannica throws out are the Enlightenment, a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries and the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, which called for full legal equality with men.

Merriam-Webster’s definition is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

In fact, for centuries, Western women had been treated as chattel—the property of men.

After watching the video and reading the entry in Britannica and the definition in Merriam-Webster, it’s obvious that feminism was alive and well in China more than a thousand years ago during the Tang Dynasty.

In fact, Emperor Wu Zetian (625 to 705 AD) was a very early feminist that ruled the Tang Dynasty as an emperor and was China’s only woman emperor.

The Tang Dynasty was a time of relative freedom for women. Women did not bind their feet (for a few more centuries) or lead submissive lives. It was a time in which a number of exceptional women contributed in the areas of culture and politics. Source: Women in World History

Wu Zetian demanded the right of an emperor and kept male concubines. She also challenged Confucian beliefs against rule by women and started a campaign to elevate the position of women.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This post first appeared on November 08, 2010


Party Women

November 10, 2010

Starting with the I Ching, The Book of Changes, almost five thousand years ago, the central focus of Chinese philosophy has been how to live an ideal life and how best to organize society.

When the Communist Party of China gained power in 1949, previous schools of Chinese philosophy, except Legalism, were denounced as backward and purged during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

However, their influence on Chinese thought did not vanish since China’s Central Committee continues to plan and organize modernization and changes to China’s five thousand year old culture and society.

Most Chinese believe that true advancement and growth should only happen slowly, at a steady, measured pace, which means to grow but grow slow like a tree while following a well thought out plan to bring about the changes.

Even the United States doesn’t change quickly. 

In fact, it took almost ninety years to free the slaves, and women first sought the right to vote in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention.

Then seventy-two years later in 1920, American women finally earned the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment was adopted by Congress and was ratified by the states becoming a national law.

The last time women had relative freedom in China was in the seventh century during the Tang Dynasty when Emperor Wu Zetian, a woman, ruled the country.

Since 1982, when China ratified its Constitution, women in China have gained more freedom, power and rights than at any other time in China’s history including the Tang Dynasty.

Anyone that does not consider this progress is stupid, blind and deaf.

Critics in the West might point out that under the Communists, no woman has ruled China, but I could say the same of the United States and many other countries.

Today, The most likely woman candidate for Politburo status — and a remote possibility for the Standing Committee — is Lin Yandong, a senior Party official responsible for winning over non-Communists.

In fact, Chinese women’s participation in politics has grown since 1982. There are now 230 or more women provincial and ministerial officials, 670 or more are mayor, which is twice the number of 1995.

“Chinese women leaders have much in common. They generally all have a good education background, being mainly science majors, and solid experience in government. They are of a caliber equal to that of their male counterparts,” an All-China Women’s Federation expert said.

If you hear anyone demanding quick changes in China, be cautions. Moving fast may result in tragedy.  I suggest that China continue to change steadily and slowly like an oak tree. 

Why do so many of China’s critics expect China to move faster than the US did? Is it because they want to see China fail?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Women’s Rights in China

March 21, 2010

Dramatic changes in women’s rights have been achieved in a culture where for millennia women were stereotyped as inferior to men, had no rights and served as slaves, concubines and prostitutes. Marriages were arranged—sometimes at infancy.

In 1949, foot binding was abolished and the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) was formed and supported by the Communist Party. Change in China, as in the United States, has been a painful evolutionary process. However, the struggle to gain equality appears to have moved faster than the United States where the women’s rights movement started in 1848 and still isn’t over.

10th National Women’s Congress in China

At the 10th National Women’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in 2008, Deputy-Chairwoman Huang Qingyi said, “Sex discrimination in employment should be eradicated and the income gap between men and women should be further narrowed.”

It was also been reported that domestic violence is a severe threat to women. Chinese authorities reported 50,000 complaints annually, according to figures released by the ACWF. The domestic violence fact sheet shows this is also a problem in the United States.

Sexual discrimination was supposed to have been abolished in China back in 1949, when Chairman Mao Zedong famously announced, “women hold up half the sky”, but it wasn’t.  It has only been a few years since China outlawed sexual harassment.

Today, statistics show China has about 27,000 women and children’s rights protection agencies.

Discover Changing Times for Women’s Rights

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Changing Times for Women’s Rights

March 21, 2010

To compare the changes taking place in China concerning women’s rights, first a brief timeline for Women’s Rights in America.

Starting in 1848, the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. Then in 1850, the first National Women’s Rights Convention was held in Worcester, Mass. Nineteen years later, the National Woman’s Suffrage Association is organized to achieve voting rights for women by means of a Congressional amendment to the Constitution.

1890 – Two women’s rights organizations merge and wage state-by-state campaigns to obtain voting rights for women.

1903 – The National Women’s Trade Union League is established to advocate improved wages and working conditions.

1920 – The 10th Amendment to the Constitution grants women the right to vote.

Eleanor Roosevelt

1961 – President John Kennedy establishes a Commission to study the Status of Women and appoints Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman.  The Commission reports substantial discrimination against women exists in the workplace resulting in 1964 with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act barring discrimination in employment based on race and sex.

In 1972, The Equal Rights Amendment is passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. The amendment dies in 1982 when it fails to achieve ratification by a minimum of 38 states.

Discover more about China’s Modern Women

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


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