3 August 2009
Here’s an article written a few days ago in Newsweek about that issue of women’s social equality in China:
This article focuses more on women in business, but the underlying issue is how women are perceived, and the role they play, in society overall. It’s not considered demeaning for women to be referred to as "flowers"
or for a job description to state beauty and age features of the
proposed receptionist or waitress. The motto may be that women may hold up half the sky, but like many ideals of the Communist revolution that one has also largely been swept away by time.
If anything, in my view, the article doesn’t go far enough in describing the extent of discrimination in China. For instance, it describes the gender imbalance in allowing families to have a second child if the first child is a girl, on the supposed assumption that boys are more useful to poor, rural farmers. It may be true that boys are more useful to poor rural farmers, but there is a larger and more significant purpose to the "girl" exception to the one child policy. It reduces infanticide of female infants. That one comment is like the canary in the coal mine: it says a lot about the relative value of males versus females, opportunities available to them, and in my view that’s a sad statement about society.
My last blog entry on this topic was More on 三八女 (the social status of women in China) 11 March 2009 (click link to view)