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 and the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) was formed and supported by the Communist Party. Change in China, as in the United States, has been a painful evolutionary process. However, the struggle to gain equality appears to have moved faster than the United States where the women’s rights movement started in 1848 and still isn’t over.
At the 10th National Women’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in 2008, Deputy-Chairwoman Huang Qingyi 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.
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.
Today, statistics show China has about 27,000 women and children’s rights protection agencies.
Discover Changing Times for Women’s Rights
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 love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.
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