China versus the U.S. when it comes to Women in Positions of Power

September 29, 2015

According to Forbes.com, Canada is the best country in the world to be a woman, and India is the worst.  The U.S. was ranked #6 of the twenty countries surveyed. The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

Starting with the I Ching, The Book of Changes, almost five thousand years ago, the central focus of Chinese philosophy has been how to live an ideal life and how best to organize society.

When the Communist Party of China gained power in 1949, previous schools of Chinese philosophy, except Legalism, were denounced as backward and purged during the Great Leap Forward and during the insanity of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

Most Chinese think that true advancement and growth should only happen slowly, at a steady, measured pace, which means to grow but grow slow like an oak tree while following a well thought out plan to bring about change.

Even the United States doesn’t change that fast.

In fact, it took almost ninety years to free the slaves, and women first sought the right to vote in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention. Then seventy-two years later in 1920, American women finally earned the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment was adopted by Congress and was ratified by the states becoming a national law.

Global map showing womens rights

The last time women had relative freedom in China was in the seventh century during the Tang Dynasty when Emperor Wu Zetian, a woman, ruled the country.

Since 1982, when China ratified its Constitution, women in China have gained more freedom, power and rights than at any other time in China’s history including the Tang Dynasty when Wu Zetian ruled as the only female emperor in China’s history.

Anyone that does not consider this progress is stupid, blind and deaf.

Critics in the West have pointed out that under the Communists, no woman has ruled China, and I’d counter that no woman has ever ruled the United States—yet.

In 2013 Lin Yandong, a senior Party official responsible for winning over non-Communists, was elected Vice Primer of China, one of the country’s senor leaders. She’s now one of China’s four vice premiers making her not only the most powerful woman in China, but also one of the most powerful in the world. She is one of two women in China’s 25-member Politburo. The other woman is Sun Chunlan.

Chinese women’s participation in politics has grown since 1982. For instance, in 1952 only 12% of China’s National Congress (NPCC) was women. In 2014, of the 2,959 seats in the NPCC, more than 23% of the seats (699) were held by women compared to about 19% in the United States Congress. Out of 190 countries, China is ranked #58 versus the U.S. that’s ranked #76. – Women in national parliaments

“Chinese women leaders have much in common. They generally all have a good education background, being mainly science majors, and solid experience in government. They are of a caliber equal to that of their male counterparts,” an All-China Women’s Federation expert said. For the United States, I’m thinking of Sarah Palin—enough said.

If you hear anyone demanding faster change in China, be cautious. After all, China seems to be moving faster than the United States when it comes to women holding positions of power.

Why do so many of China’s critics in the West expect China to move faster than the United States?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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China’s Educated Women Work to Bring about Change from Within

March 12, 2012

“You must matter,” she tells the girls that are her students. “You must be independent.”

The teacher wants her students to know the alternatives so they have choices. She says, “You don’t change overnight. It takes time. The ideas have to sink in.” This also applies to a country where less than a century ago women were the property of men and their feet were broken as children and bound to restrict growth.

The students are schoolteachers from China’s rural areas. They have come to Beijing for workplace training and to learn more about themselves.

Moreover, this is happening in Communist China and most Western critics have no idea this is going on.

The rural teachers in this program study the Chinese Constitution to learn about their rights and responsibilities.

After all, men and women are equal under the law in China, but there is a long way to go to change the old habits and ways of thinking to achieve all that equality offers.

As in the US, women in China are not paid the same as men for the same jobs.

One of the schoolteachers from rural China said, “You come to believe that you are not as good as men. But I hope when I return to my town that I will have the strength to stand up for myself.”

In October 2011, Chen Zhili, vice-chairperson of the National Congress Standing Committee and president of the All-China Women’s Federation, joined representatives from eleven other Asian and African countries and regions at a conference in Seoul, South Korea.  In her speech at the conference, she “emphasized the four concepts of education as a fundamental right; of education as a means to achieving gender equality and empowering women; of the health and social benefits to be gained from investing in women and girls’ education; and of the responsibility all state governments and international society bear in promoting gender equality.” Source: Women of China

In addition, “Data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics shows that women in China ages 18 to 64 have had an average of 8.8 years of education compared to 9.1 years for men. The gender gap in average years of education has decreased from 1.5 years in 2000 to 0.3 years in 2010.” Source WIA Report – Tracking the Progress of Women in Academia


worth watching if you have the time – a PBS 2007 documentary running almost one hour

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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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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared November 8, 2010


Chinese Women in Science & Business

February 14, 2012

Business Week.com says, “Women now hold 34 percent of senior management roles in China, excluding Hong Kong, up from 31 percent in 2009, according to a 2011 Grant Thornton International Business Report, a survey of global companies.”


Tianjin Women’s Business Incubator (China)

The Harvard Business Review says, “In the decades since Deng Xiaoping instituted market reform, millions of women have profitably followed Deng’s dictate that “to get rich is glorious.” Half of the 14 billionaires on Forbes magazine’s 2010 list of the world’s richest self-made women are from mainland China… Backing them up are legions of qualified and ambitious women who, increasingly, are the engines powering China’s economic juggernaut.”

However, in the Western media, I often read or hear about sex slaves and prostitution in China, which is an example of Yellow Journalism at its worst. Seldom do we hear about China’s women in business and the sciences.


Professor Vivian Wing-Way Yam from China – 2011 Laureate for Asia and Pacific

What we should hear about from the Western media but often do not are stories about women like Dr. Zhang Yanxuan, an innovative scientist, who started a successful business in China to destroy mites that eat food crops. With twenty-seven years of scientific knowledge and government support, she raises predatory mites, a biologically safe method to kill the mites that eat crops. Her products are also being exported to other countries.


RSC Council member Professor Helen Fielding introduces leading Indian and Chinese scientists who talk about their inspiration and give advice to women starting out in science

China is currently the world’s leading pesticide user allowing chemical companies to make hefty profits while poisoning the environment and the people. However, Dr. Yanxuan’s predatory mites may replace pesticides as China’s government is becoming greener in their thinking.

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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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Women’s Rights in China

February 8, 2012

Dramatic changes in women’s rights have been achieved in a culture where for millennia women were stereotyped as inferior to men, had no rights and served as slaves, concubines and prostitutes. Marriages were arranged—sometimes at infancy.

In 1949, foot binding was abolished; the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) was formed and supported by China’s Communist Party (CCP). Change in China, as in the United States, has been a painful evolutionary process. However, the struggle for women to gain equality appears to have moved faster in China since the CCP came to power.

After the CCP was established in 1949, it took less than a year to liberate women and pass laws to speed this process along.

For a comparison, after the United States was established in 1776, it took one hundred and forty-four years until August 26, 1920 when the Congress voted in the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution giving women the right to vote.

At the 10th National Women’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in 2008, Deputy-Chairwoman HuangQingyi said, “Sex discrimination in employment should be eradicated and the income gap between men and women should be further narrowed.”

It was also been reported that domestic violence is a severe threat to women. Chinese authorities reported 50,000 complaints annually, according to figures released by the ACWF. The domestic violence fact sheet shows this is also a problem in the United States.


Role of Women in China Then and Now

Sexual discrimination was supposed to have been abolished in China back in 1949, when Chairman Mao Zedong famously announced, “women hold up half the sky”, but it wasn’t. It has only been a few years since China outlawed sexual harassment. Laws may be written to bring about change but change comes slowly.

Today, statistics show China has about 27,000 women and children’s rights protection agencies. However, China’s critics and enemies will only point out what they believe is wrong without giving credit to what has changed for the good of women in China.

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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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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on March 21, 2010


Women in Politics

December 2, 2010

In Party Women, I wrote how women in China have more freedom than at any time in China’s history and pointed out how many held important political posts in China.

I was correct when I said how China has been criticized in the Western media for not having enough women in positions of political power at the national level.

However, what I didn’t know was how wrong China’s critics were.

According to the UN, China has a higher percentage of women in positions of power at the national level than all but one of the countries I researched for this post.

In the United States, women hold less than 17 percent of the seats in both houses of Congress.

In China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), women hold 21.3 percent of the seats. Since there are 2,909 NPC deputies, that means there are about 620 women in positions of power at the national level.

In the United States, that number is about 100.
 

In Japan, a democracy, only 11.3 percent of the 480 members in the House of Representatives and the 242 members in the House of Councilors are women, which is eighty-one.

In South Korea, another democracy, there are 299 seats in the National Assembly.  Only 15.6 percent or forty-six are women.

In Thailand, there are 62 women out of 474 seats—about 13 percent.

There is only one country in Asia that has a higher percentage and that is Singapore with 23.4 percent of the seats in its parliament held by women.  There are almost 20 women of eighty-four elected members.

When it comes to building a government of the people from scratch, it now makes sense why Singapore is China’s role model instead of the US or the other Asian democracies.

In fact, China has twice as many women holding important positions of power in China’s NPC as all of the other countries mentioned in this post. 

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar. 


China’s Educated Women Work to Bring About Change from Within

November 8, 2010

“You must matter,” she tells the girls that are her students. “You must be independent.”

The teacher wants her students to know the alternatives so they have choices. She says, “You don’t change overnight. It takes time. The ideas have to sink in.”

The students are schoolteachers from China’s rural areas. They have come to Beijing for workplace training and to learn more about themselves.

Moreover, this is happening in Communist China and most Western critics have no idea what is going on.

The rural teachers study the Chinese Constitution to learn about their rights and responsibilities.

After all, men and women are equal under the law in China, but there is a long way to go to change the old ways of thinking to achieve that equality.

As in the US, women in China are not paid the same as men for the same jobs.

One of the schoolteachers from rural China said, “You come to believe that you are not as good as men. But I hope when I return to my town that I will have the strength to stand up for myself.”

Learn more about Women’s Rights in China

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


China’s Modern Women

March 6, 2010

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.

Chinese girl with 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.

Modern Chinese woman

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.

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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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