This investigation will cover women’s participation in the Long March, the People’s Republic of China Constitution in 1949, Mao’s policies for foot binding, the 1950 Marriage Law, and women’s increased participation in society. I will analyze journal articles and books from Western and Asian authors to evaluate various historians’ views on Communists’ policies towards women and the effects they had on Communists’ rise to power. Kellee Tsai’s Women and the state in post-1949 rural China and John King Fairbank’s “The Great Chinese Revolution: 1800-1985” are two of the principle sources and will be evaluated.
Part B: Summary of Evidence
Women’s Participation in Long March
Mao’s uprising in Hunan, known as the Long March, allowed women to participate in the movement as equal and important comrades (some women even abandoned their own new babies to continue marching), prompting them to participate in the revolution (Lewis 59). Paying attention to women’s problems and protecting their rights were important goals of the Communists to ensure that the women would stay enthusiastic for participating in the revolution (Hodes 225). Additionally, establishing and applying laws to protect and liberate women would lead and encourage them to participate in revolutionary war, which would in turn speed up victory of the revolution for the Communists (Hodes 225).
1949 People’s Republic of China Constitution
Under the People’s Republic of China Constitution in 1949, women were legally full citizens of China and shared equal rights with men (Datta 50). The All-China Women’s Federation was responsible for reinforcing policies to improve women’s conditions in China (Korabik 1). In this women’s federation, equality of women was enforced within their political, cultural, economic, and social lives (Korabik 1). Women also participated in production within the work force, and the Constitution ensured that men and women worked for equal payment (Datta 50). The increasing number of women participating in production in turn promoted economic equality between men and women (Korabik 1). The Constitution additionally created reforms in marriage laws, abolishing traditions such as concubines, polygamy, and arranged marriages (Korabik 1).
Policies for Foot Binding
Prior to the Communists’ rise to power in 1949, traditions such as foot binding and other traditional Confucian beliefs were dominant throughout China, portraying a feudal society (Korabik 1). The tradition of foot binding symbolized high sexual standard; unbound feet represented a lower sexual standard of living (Fairbank 27). Additionally, foot binding kept women in the house, promoting chastity as the women stayed home, as well as the superiority of men who worked in the fields and industries (Fairbank 70). However, after Mao took over, foot binding was abolished, resulting in no more broken and crushed bones, crippled women, or pain (Lewis 59).
1950 Marriage Law
Mao’s goal of communism was to destroy...