Gender Discrimination In China Essay

1870 Words8 Pages
Over the past few years, the media has been telling the world to view China as a model of gender equality, but these rosy media accounts are merely a distraction from the truth about women and the discrimination they face in China. Kim Lee, the wife of a Chinese billionaire entrepreneur, suffered through years of domestic abuse. After filing for divorce, she spent over two years trying to prove that domestic violence had occurred, but her case was blocked by the Chinese legal system. Throughout the case, she received death threats from her husband and even men on the street. She also faced discrimination from the media, and although she was eventually granted a divorce on the grounds of domestic violence, her financial settlement was still…show more content…
A long history of son preference initiated during the Han Dynasty led to female infanticide and neglect. In the mid-nineteenth century, a harsh famine shook China. During the famine, an excess of men and a shortage of females meant many men could not find wives. According to political scientists Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer, “‘widespread female infanticide during the famine meant that as many as a quarter of young men in the region were ‘bare branches’-as the Chinese expression goes-unlikely to ever bear fruit’” (Brooks 3). Confucianism, which was largely supported during the Han Dynasty, had a negative effect on gender rights. The founder of this religion, Confucius himself, placed women at the lower end of the patriarchal family structure. Filial piety, the honoring of one’s ancestors, was key element of Confucianism that stressed the dominance of a man over his wife. The worst offense against the concept of filial piety was dying without a son. Therefore, if a woman did not produce a son, it was her husband’s right and duty to take a second wife and continue the family line. Furthermore, marriage meant that a woman became part of her husband’s family and it was her duty to faithfully serve her in-laws; however, if a woman did not get along with her mother-in-law, filial piety demanded that a man left his wife and found another one that would please…show more content…
To begin, China must end the anti-women campaigns, such as the ‘Leftover Women’ and the ‘Women Return Home’ movement. The government must reverse these campaigns by creating campaigns encouraging women to enter the workforce instead of leave it. Furthermore, laws must be changed and new leaders elected. The government must enforce laws against gender discrimination in the workforce, close illegal ultrasound clinics, and outlaw abortions for gender reasons. The Marriage Law, which limits the property rights of married women must be reversed, and new laws permitting women to own property must be put in place. More women must be elected into office, as “new leadership, first and foremost, has to declare publicly a firm commitment to raising the status of the nation’s women” (Fincher 20). We must realize that China may not be able to solve this issue on its own, but the United States and other progressive countries, can help. Americans can support and donate to Chinese universities that do not enforce gender discrimination in the admissions. The United States can raise funds for scholarships for female students to encourage women to attend university and increase their chances of pursuing a career. Americans can create student exchange programs to expose Chinese students, male and female alike, to

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