Women in Chinese History
Although there have been women in China that have held positions of power and even lead in prominent positions, the history of the Chinese civilization has been one of male dominance. “Unfortunately, no level of leadership, education or social prominence for women has changed the patriarchal nature of traditional Chinese society (Perry 279).” Women in Chinese society are still considered to be a possession of the man or are looked upon as servants. Because they are seen in this manner, except for a few, women have not been able to contribute spiritually, politically or scientifically to Chinese society. It is to say almost for certain that women being constrained in this manner has prevented China from advancing to its full potential. The morale of a suppressive society is not one that encourages imagination, exploration or advancement. Although the Chinese in general are an efficient people, they have not continued their at one time rapid advances in technology. This is partly due to the fact that women have so often been kept to the side and unable to be involved in the same aspect as men are. Some may argue that the women influence in the home as a caregiver would have somewhat of an impact on their value and importance. However, in Chinese and many other societies, “homemaker” is thought to be the only role for women and not considered to be one of great value. It is not surprising that after thousands of years, the transformation of the Chinese society still reflects the patriarchal history of traditional China and the defining characteristics that define women in a submissive role to men. This paper will examine the attitudes and feelings toward women, give examples of women in leadership positions throughout the history of China, discuss their inability to bring forth change to the patriarchal society and the modern day status of women.
Since as early as the 7th century BC, gender inequality in China has been an on going problem from before the birth of a child until after its death. The "We want a boy" mentality still exists today in Chinese thinking when it comes to young couples planning to start a family. What's even worse is that it is reinforced by nonsensical family traditions in a nation where filial piety often dictates family decisions. Parents usually desired sons in order to make familial propagation, security for the elderly, labor provision, and performance of ancestral rites (Perry). Giving birth to a girl meant that not only these things would fail to be performed, but that the family name would not be carried on. Families would sometimes be devastated by the news that a newborn baby is a girl. The desire to give birth to a boy far exceeds that of a girl and people go to great lengths to ensure themselves the birth of a boy.
One of the methods people use to increase there chances of giving birth to a boy is called “sex-selective abortion.” This is the practice of aborting a fetus after...