Have Chinese Women been liberated in the People's republic of China?

Essay by jemmaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2005

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Women in the PRC (People's Republic of China) have not been liberated because they still lack autonomy in deciding life choices, this essay will explore how this occurs in the workforce, in the family and in politics. In the workforce, Chinese women are limited in their ability to choose and be considered for employment, because of various discriminatory workplace practices. In the family arena, women's choices are also limited as they continue to encounter problems exercising their autonomy in cases of divorce and domestic violence. Finally, Chinese women lack the power to have their choices heard on a large scale through political participation because of the policies followed by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) over the last half century.

Chinese women are not liberated in the workplace, they are still prevented from gaining jobs and economic independence by discriminatory legislation, backward social ideology and a male dominated work environment.

Today, 47% of the PRC's workforce is female but few are in management positions. Since the reform period, discrimination against women in "...hiring, rewards, promotion and pressure to withdraw...from the labour force" has increased. One reason for this is that equal rights legislation is not strongly enforced and workplace practices are generally "...left to the discretion of employers." Sometimes legislation itself is also discriminatory. For example, the law compels women to retire five years earlier than men and although this "..may benefit women in some ways, ...[it] deprives those who wish to continue working of the opportunity to do so." The lack of women in high level positions is also often explained by arguing that women are less competitive in the workforce because they shoulder the burden of domestic and child rearing duties, but in fact, ideological factors are probably more significant. Cooke, F.L. points out that...