The changing role of Chinese women has been dramatic since Mao won China in 1949. Prior to that time, China was ruled by the Kuomintang—a dictatorship. There were never national elections held in China. There wasn’t much that changed under the Kuomintang leadership regarding the role of women. When my wife was born in the late 1950s, her grandmother had bound feet.
Before Mao, women were grass to be stepped on. Their role was to serve men.
The changes ushered in by Mao set the stage for his wife to become China’s leader after her husband’s death. The only reason she did not assume the leadership was because she was arrested as a member of the Gang of Four and sent to prison for crimes committed during the Cultural Revolution.
Since Mao, the changes have been even more dramatic. Woman own businesses, hold political posts in the government, have jobs, and cannot be sold to become a wife or bought to serve as a concubine. They are not property. They are equals to men in many ways.
Learn about Marriage and Money in China.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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