Being a Woman in China Today

Category: Culture
Date added
Pages:  5
Words:  1520
Order Original Essay

How it works

Do you know how many abandoned baby girls in China before? The answer is countless. China is a patriarchal society and a 30-year one-child policy that has led to many abandoned baby girls. Why is this happening because if a couple is merely allowed to give birth to one child, many of them demand a boy. According to Global Gender Gap Report released by the World Economic Forum (2018), China ranked below the world average of 100nd. Gender identity is like a shot that observing society and making a decision about it. Gender identity affects behaviors related to families, like wife’s employment, housework, and even the decisions of marriage (Ye and Zhao,2018). In China, stereotypes about the characters and responsibilities of the male and female in the family and society still exist. This research paper mainly discusses three stereotypes which include labor inequality, educational inequality, and family inequality.

Primarily, to know how Chinese women face workplace inequality, we should perceive something about gender discrimination. First, there are much gender discrimination for women reflected in the workplace. Yang and Li (2009) results indicate that “A large number of women in many occupations are still subject to discrimination, including discriminatory hiring practice, limited opportunities for promotion, the lack of social insurance benefits, early compulsory retirement age, and the various forms of harassment” (p.297). Currently, although this situation has been improved, there is a typical situation that executives and senior government employees rarely occupy women. According to 2018 Global Gender Gap Report, Chinese feminine legislators, senior officials and management ranked 122nd. Second, labor discrimination can be partitioned into direct and indirect discrimination. The most visible example of direct discrimination is that some jobs only accept men. Indirect discrimination is generally less blatant (Yang and Li, 2009). These discriminations exist in the name of defending women. A problematic situation which Chinese women inevitably face is that many companies refuse to hire women who are likely to give birth to children because they have maternity leave that causes the company to lose and even allows women to authenticate documents that they will become unpregnant. Last, Chinese law has limitations on women’s workforce equality. Although Chinese law has improved, its limitations have made it is impossible for the law to completely protect women’s labor rights and prevent employment discrimination (Burnett, 2009). Increasing the cost of hiring women, limiting the types of work which women can choose, and limiting the work opportunities are some examples of the law’s limitations. In conclusion, labor inequality includes Chinese women’s current and previous positions, the type of discrimination, and labor laws.

Additionally, educational gender inequality is also a serious problem that Chinese women suffer. Due to the popularity of education, there are more opportunities for children to study. Nevertheless, educational inequality still exists (Yang, Huang, and Liu, 2014). Firstly, in a patriarchal society like China, women have fewer educational opportunities. In 2009, Cheng noted that “Substantial gender imbalances are clearly illustrated in many aspects of educational development”. In 1986, China stipulated nine-year compulsory education. Although parents don’t need to pay the tuition fee for children in the period of compulsory education, they refuse to enable girls attend school. The reason for this is that they think this is a waste of time to send girls to school. Secondly, the biggest influencing factor of gender inequality in education is the difference between rural and urban areas. The gender inequality in urban education is less severe than in rural settings (Cheng, 2009). Rural families are easier thinking that men are more likely to support the family, and they also think that the daughter is just an outsider of the family. In contrast, urban families are more educated, less influenced by traditional thoughts. Furthermore, education inequality can be reflected in family inequality and labor inequality. If women don’t possess enough education, they will maintain their views on the women’s traditional roles and pass those views to their children in the future (Burnett, 2010). They are possible considering that the Chinese women’s characters are born a male descendent and becoming family caretaker, and this limits their choice of life. Furthermore, women can’t find jobs without a high degree of education, so they can’t feed themselves. Therefore, rural and urban educational perspectives, family inequality and job inequality which are caused by lack of education are all manifestations of educational gender inequality.

In addition to labor inequality and educational inequality, the most serious situation which Chinese women face is family inequality. First of all, the fact that women are treated as ‘sheng nu’ is gender inequality. People in China constantly hear a word called ‘sheng nu’ which means the leftover women who are unmarried after 27-years old (Luo and Sun, 2015; Zurndorfer, 2018). Old unmarried women in China face huge and harmful gender inequalities. Leftover women usually have a high education such as a doctoral degree or more. Male arrogance makes them willing to find academic qualifications, economic ability, and appearance are not as good as their woman, not women who are better than them. In addition, social media such as TV dating shows have a negative impact on gender inequality about marriage. Those TV dating shows reflect the sharp social problems that Chinese people face about marriage and it is also a materialization of women (Luo and Sun, 2015). Nowadays, people use ‘Bai Fu Mei’ which is the witness of skin, high economic level and beautiful appearance to describe a popular woman. However, the value of women cannot be measured by these three criteria which are influenced by social media. This way of description is gender inequality.

Finally, women in the Chinese patriarchal society are imprisoned by traditional roles. According to Sangren (2009), “By Chinese ‘patriliny’ I mean not only ‘kinship’– that is to say, patrilineal descent, virilocal residence, equal inheritance among sons, etc. – but also ancestor worship, funerary practices, marriage ritual, ethnobiological ideologies, gender categories and, especially, pervasive values like filial piety” (p.256). Chinese traditional culture and concepts are a kind of imprisonment for women. Women are always considered to be male accessories. Women can only be regarded as filial if they marry and raise children in a family. Consequently, the situation of older unmarried women being called ‘sheng nu’, the negative effects of social media, and traditional female roles in a patriarchal society are all manifestations of family inequality.

However, some people think that Chinese women already have very equal status compared to other East Asian countries. Compared with other European and American countries, the status of Chinese women is unequal. According to 2018 Global Gender Gap Report, Chinese Global Gender Gap score dropped from 63rd in 2006 to 103rd in 2018. Besides, the one that best reflects the firm traditional patriarchal ideology is the sex ratio at birth, which is at the bottom. As a result, these ranking reflect the gender inequality of Chinese women.

To sum up, those stereotypes which include labor inequality, educational inequality, and family inequality are indicating the unequal treatment of Chinese women. Not only are women in China suffering from gender inequality, but also women around the world face this problem. According to 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, it takes 217 years to achieve gender equality in the workplace. China needs to develop more laws and change Chinese people’s traditional thinking in order to achieve gender equality in the workplace, education and family.


  1. Bing Ye, Yucong Zhao. (2018) Women hold up half the sky? Gender identity and the wife’s labor market performance in China. China Economic Reiview. Vol.27, pp.116-141
  3. Harriet Zurndorfer. (2018) Escape from the country: the gender politics of Chinese women in pursuit of transnational romance. Gender, Place & Culture. Vol.25, No.4, pp.489-506
  5. Henan Cheng. (2009) Inequality in Basic Education in China: a comprehensive review. International Journal of Educational Policies. Vol.3, No.2 pp.81-106.
  7. Jamie Burnett. (2010) Women’s employment rights in China: Creating harmony for women in the workforce. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies. Vol.17, No.2, pp.289-318
  9. Jun Yang, Xiao Huang, Xin Liu. (2014) An analysis of education inequality in China. International Journal of Education Development. Vol.37, pp.2-10
  11. P. Steven Sangren. (2009) ‘Masculine Domination’ Desire and Chinese Patriliny. Critique of Anthropology. Vol.29, No.3, pp.255-278
  13. Sadia Yang and Ao Li. (2009) Legal protection against gender discrimination in the work place in China. Gender & Development. Vol. 17, No. 2
  15. Wei Luo and Zhen Sun. (2015) Are you the one? China’s TV dating shows and the sheng nu’s predicament. Feminist Media Studies. Vol. 15, No.2, pp.239-256
Did you like this example?

Cite this page

Being a Woman in China Today. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved from

The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay

Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper