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Chairman Mao and Women's Rights in China

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There is no denying that the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party under Chairman Mao Zedong changed the course of the history of China and shaped the China the world sees today. The amount of lives, cultural traditions, and differing intellectual thoughts that were lost and destroyed as he strove to meet his goals for the country can never be recovered or replaced. However, it had been asserted that one of the more positive effects of Chairman Mao on the people of China was his somewhat radical opinion of woman. Prior to the Communist Revolution, women’s role in Chinese society was almost completely limited to life within the home and focused on supporting their family and being submissive to their fathers and husbands. Chairman Mao realized that women were one of the oppressed groups in China that could be utilized to increase his control over the country. While women’s rights still have a long way to go, it can definitely be said some of Mao’s polices advanced Chinese women in ways that would have been unimaginable before his rise to leadership. The more relevant questions are regarding Chairman Mao’s intent behind these polices and if they were destined to fail from the start due to the cultural and political climate in 20th century China. It can also be argued that the political activities of Chairman Mao’s Communist China were more of a continuation of traditional Imperial China, based heavily in Confucian values, than a new type of Marxist-Leninist China, based on the Soviet Union as an archetype. While it is unquestionable that a Marxist-Leninist political structure was present in China during this time, Confucian values remained to be reinforced through rituals and were a fundamental part of the Chinese Communist ... ... middle of paper ... ...oist China.” Gender & History 18, No. 3 (November 2006): 574-593. EBSCOhost. Accessed October 4, 2015. Kazuko, Ono. "Chinese Women in a Century of Revolution, 1850-1950." edited by Joshua A. Fogel, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989. Zheng, Wang. “Maoism, Feminism, and the UN Conference on Women: Women's Studies Research in Contemporary China.” Journal of Women's History 8, No. 4 (Winter 1997): 126-152. Project Muse. Accessed October 14, 2015. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jowh/summary/v008/8.4.zheng01.html. Zheng, Wang. “‘State Feminism’? Gender and Socialist State Formation in Maoist China.” Feminist Studies 31, No. 3 (Fall 2005): 519-551. JSTOR. Accessed October 14, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20459044. Zhong, Xueping, Zheng Wang, and Bai Di. Some of Us: Chinese Women Growing up in the Mao Era. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001.
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