Gender Inequality

The People’s Republic of China is emerging as a world leader and independent nation, improving the equality, health and economic prosperity of all Chinese citizens. One contentious issue that still faces China is gender inequality. Despite governmental administrative and legal reforms, the inequality between men and women is still widespread on a social, economic, cultural and political level. This issue holds significance and importance for not only women, but for every member of Chinese society as gender equality will bring social, economic and political benefits.

In Chinese society, the traditional role of the woman a housekeeper and mother, is still common. Confucian scholars such as Sima Guan illustrated the family as a group of men bound to each other by patriarchal links and ties to property. Women were attached to these men as mothers, wives, daughters and sisters.3 Furthermore, gender distinctions were traditionally essential features of the familial hierarchy. The marriage law of 1950 was promulgated by the Communist Party of China, asserting free choice marriage and the right to divorce. The popular joke in Beijing, “Have you divorced?” exemplifies the increasing divorce rate, which is currently at 10.4%. Although this illustrates the rising independence and freedom of women in China, the traditional image of women is still prevailing.

Woman held no right to education before the establishment of the Communist Party in 1949. Women had little access to the workforce outside the household. The Communist Party of China introduced access to education for women, dramatically increasing the percentage of girls attending school, from 20%, to 96.2%. Women now enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men, in receiving education. These rights and opportunities are defined in China’s education law, compulsory education law and vocational educational law. Furthermore, The role of women in the workforce has changed throughout China’s history. In the years...