The Impact of Cultural Education on the Social Status of Women in China

By Changying, Hu | Cross - Cultural Communication, May 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

The Impact of Cultural Education on the Social Status of Women in China


Changying, Hu, Cross - Cultural Communication


Abstract

In ancient China (before 1949), most Chinese women were illiterate, inferior and humble. Main works of women were to raise children and took care of their family members. They did not have opportunities to accept education, did not have decision-making powers at home and were underprivileged in the whole society. But now, many women have the highest decision-making powers in their families, and also are active in the workplaces, they already won a half-piece of the sky from men. What changed the status of Chinese women over these years? Many factors, such as politics, economy, science and technologies etc., all play important roles, but education plays the key role in changing the social status of Chinese women. In this paper, we will emphasize on education, especially the higher education, which let more women have confidence to compete with men in the workplaces and families. We will discuss the changing process of the Chinese women's social status and observe the role of education in this process. Then we will point out the problems and challenges that Chinese women are still facing, and give some proposals to further promote the development of women in future.

Key words: Social status of Chinese women; Education of women; Gender equality; Women's roles

INTRODUCTION

When the Chinese female athletes boarded the Olympic podiums; when the Chinese female football players use their feet to win the world cheers, maybe they do not realize how great their performances are. Because just in about one thousand years ago, their grand-grandmother still bounded their feet tightly with a long cloth in order to please men. Women were underprivileged, humble and illiterate at that time; and they were only man's accessories. This meant that their whole lives were spent in being subservient to the men in their families. Some girls of poor families were sold as servants, and their prices were often less than that of a chair or a table. They were treated as inferiors from the moment of their birth; most of them could not have marriage and served for the nobilities in the whole life. Even the women of the nobilities and the imperial families could not escape the oppression, though life was slightly easier for them than those poor women.

But today, even the western feminist theorists think that modern Chinese women seem to have more autonomy than those of other nations. According to the statistics, in China, the number of outstanding women in all walks of life is increasing year by year. Up to 2010, the Chinese women cadres account for 39.8 percent of the total number cadres in the government, with total number is more than 100 thousand, an increase of 6.2 percent points than 10 years ago. The proportion of women in Chinese Communist Party, People Congress, Political Consultative Committee is 20.4% (about 604), which has increased 1.2 percent points than ten years ago. Not only in political arena, in economic, culture, and other social departments, Chinese women are also very excellent. According to the statistics, the female entrepreneurs account for more than 20% of the individual and private economy in the current total number of Chinese entrepreneurs in 2008 (Wu Zhen, Professor of University of Politics and Science). In some banks, hospitals, travel companies, universities, varieties of schools, most employees are women. Women are playing increasingly important social roles now.

In addition to the workplaces, women seem to have a much higher position in their families. Many women, with their carefulness, patience and strong will, dominate in the home, such as in charge of family finances, arrange the living programs, children education and a variety of family plans etc., the husband only needs to agree or give additional suggestions. More and more husbands have to admit that they cannot do many things without the permission of their wives. On March 8,h every year, which is the annual International Women's Day, the Chinese women can clearly feel the pleasure from a variety of celebrations. …

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