The Power Women Hold in China vs the U.S.

November 21, 2018

Since the end of foot binding in 1949, when Mao said women hold up half the sky, how much power have women gained in China vs the United States?

On July 4, 1776, when the U.S. became a country, women were considered the property of men and they were not allowed to vote. It wasn’t until June 4, 1919 when the 19th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution that women gained the right to vote.

The Chinese Communist Party didn’t wait almost 143 years to make women equal to men and technically, women in the U.S. are still not equal because the Equal Rights Amendment has never been passed.

In October 2017, the BBC reported, “Of the 89.4 million members of the Chinese Communist Party, just fewer than 23 million are women – that’s 26%.

“And women make up 24% of China’s National Congress – the sprawling national parliament. You don’t have to be a Communist Party member to sit on that.

“Women are less represented the higher up the political tree you climb.

“After the last Congress in 2012, only 33 women sat on the Central Committee which elects the powerful Politburo – that’s 9%.

“Only two of the 25 members of that Politburo were women – 8%.”

How about the power Women hold in the United States?

Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics reported, the “Percentage of Women in Elective office. In 2018, 20-percent held seats in the U.S. Congress, 23.7 percent held statewide Elective offices and 25.4 percent held seats in state legislatures.”

The United States doesn’t have a Central Committee but it does have the President’s Cabinet that was established in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. The Cabinet’s role is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of each member’s respective office.

Trump’s cabinet currently has 22 members listed and only five are women (was six but one recently quit), or 22.7-percent. Cabinet members are not elected but they must be approved by the U.S. Senate.

China’s Central Committee is currently composed of 205 full members and 171 alternate members. Thirty-three are women.

Members are nominally elected once every five years by the national Congress of the Communist Party of China. The Central Committee is, formally, the “party’s highest organ of authority” when the National Congress is not in session. Of the 2,280 delegates at the National Congress, less than a quarter was women.

No woman has ever been China’s president since the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949, but the United States also has never had a woman as its president.

“Even though Mao once famously said, ‘Women hold up half the sky’, women still have a long way to go in their fights for equal representation.”

The same holds true for the United States.

China Power.org says, “China’s constitution guarantees women ‘equal rights with men in all spheres of life,’ and over the last several decades, women in China have enjoyed some notable gains. Life expectancy and literacy rates, for instance, have risen as China’s economy has developed. This progress, however, has been outpaced by the rest of the world. China’s ranking in the index fell sharply from 63rd out of 115 countries in 2006 to 100th out of 144 countries in 2017.”

While women in the U.S. have achieved 1st place in educational attainment, women in China are ranked 102nd. China has also taken strides to improve postnatal care … a significant improvement over the US, which has no federally mandated leave.

On Global Gender Parity, Chinese women beat American women for political empowerment. China is ranked 77th and the US is in 96th place.

Then there are the billionaires. Barrons.com reports, “China dominated a ranking of the world’s self-made female billionaires, making up almost two-thirds of the total, as well as sweeping the top four spots.” … “In total, China had 64 self-made women billionaires, representing 63% of the total. … “The U.S., with 17 women billionaires, had the second largest share of the list, accounting for 17% of the total.”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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