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Women’s Role in China Essay example

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Women’s Role in China

"The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: 'It's a girl.'"
-Shirley Chislom-

Women have had changing roles in every society for centuries. Depending on the country, some women have had a harder time achieving equality. One of these countries is China. These women have faced such obstacles as foot binding to concubines. Until the twentieth century women were not considered equals in their society.
Many cruel things were done to women in ancient china that are considered unfathomable in other countries. According to Confucius women weren’t equal to men because they were unworthy or incapable of literary education. This was as much as he mentioned women because it was such a natural idea to him that there was no need to mention it, as other early Chinese writers and theorists thought. Women were only considered property and had to obey their brothers and fathers no matter what. Fathers also despised their daughters to the point where instead of being named they were considered daughter number one and daughter number two, etc. Once the woman was married instead of being property to her brother and father, she was now property to her husband and mother in law, whom also despised the girl. It was also common for a husband to have three or four wives. If a woman’s husband were to die she was unable to remarry, sometimes causing women to commit suicide due to no food or income. If a woman were to remarry then her skin was peeled of her bones until she died.
Another cruel act that was practiced in ancient china against women was foot binding. This tradition started around 1000 when an Emperor believed his concubines small feet were beautiful. This process began when a girl was between three and eleven. “Her toes were turned under her feet and pressed against the bottom of her foot. The arches were then broken as the foot was pulled straight with the leg, a long narrow cotton bandage would then be tightly wound around the foot from the toes to the ankle to hold to toes in place” (W., Jacob 1). The bandages would then be tightened everyday. This would cause the foot to be around 3 inches long, called lily feet, and sometimes making the toes fall off for lack of blood flow to them. A girl would be considered unacceptable if her feet were ugly and would not be considered f...


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...ing it “voluntarily” so that they can bring the abortion to the countryside. Due to this the ration in China is 118 males to 100 females because there are half a million female abortions a year. Since there are so few females teenage girls are sold for prostitution and $500 mail order brides since the late 1980s. This has also made the literacy rate of women fall, more than 70% of school dropouts are girls. Because of these dropouts more than 70% of China’s semiliterate or illiterate people are women.
In conclusion, the role of women in china has made a drastic change from being concubines to being mayors in major cities. Equality was something that took a long time to achieve but through all the hard work they have eventually overcome many obstacles but there are still many more that they need to work on. Perhaps women will always be looked down upon because that is how it started and that is the origin of many people’s thoughts but achieving the status that they have today is a great success. Although the changes came at a later time than that of the west, equality in China took a shorter amount of time. All in all, Chinese women have had great success in their reforms.


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