Women's Role in Chinese History.

Essay by nycxwendyHigh School, 11th grade May 2003

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Women's Role in Chinese History

Traditionally, Chinese women were limited to a relatively small role in society. Women inferiority to men was heavily stressed since the feudal days of China. As stated by Confucian philosophy, women were to remain ignorant and to obey men throughout their lives. The Parents arranged the marriages, and the consent of the daughters was basically ignored. Divorce was not an option for women, and remarrying was absolutely disgraceful for a widow. Men, however, can choose to disown his wife if she did not live up to his expectations. He can also remarry, not to mention marrying more than one wife. In fact, men tend to marry multiple wives to show that he is wealthy enough to support a large family. The wife, on the other hand, has to be tolerant of her husband's polygamist behavior. Within the family, a woman's responsibility was to serve her husband and tend for the children.

In fact, the main purpose in her life was to concern herself with her family's comfort and welfare. Women were merely considered as the private property of men. There was clearly a double standard for men and women in the old days.

Various old proverbs belittling the status and ability of women became the root of mentality for the Chinese society. 'The absence of talent in a woman is a virtue' induces Chinese families to keep their daughters ignorant and uneducated. This is also a cause of the high illiteracy rate for women. 'A man tends for the outside while the woman tends for the inside' supports the belief that women should stay home and concentrate on maintaining the household while the man earns a living. 'It is more profitable to raise geese than daughters ' indicates that raising daughters is not beneficial in...