Culture – China’s Revolution
The outlook of a working women or women in the field of technology has greatly changed in China in the past century. Traditionally the role of Chinese women was focused around the household, mainly caring for her husband and children. These beliefs and roles were set like this for many centuries and were part of Confucian teachings, which were highly regarded in traditional China. (Burnett, 2010) Confucian teachings stated “it is a virtue if a woman has no ability” and this taught woman to let men run the household. These beliefs were held very strongly and for many years. The economic roles placed to great of an identity amongst the two sexes, and for many years they played out the way they were suppose to. Males had already created monopolies amongst the education and workforce for centuries; it would be difficult to sway from such tradition.
At the turn of the century, women started to demand a different position amongst society. It was in 1911 during the revolution, where the establishment of the Nationalist government played a large role in these changes. Traditional practices were no longer looked at and ideas of gender equality started to grow. The government began to include pro-woman reforms, these reforms eliminated traditional practices, such things as outlawing foot binding, which was traditionally believed to be of great importance to woman, as well as polygamy which was saw to be normal amongst women. Lifestyle changes such as these, helped progress the idea of women and continual reforms promoting woman in education and the workforce caught on.
While women were allowed to join the workforce, it was still very difficult for woman to be held as equals. Very few jobs were considered acceptable or suitable for women. At the same time women who were working, received significantly lower pay then their male counterparts. One of the greatest barriers to overcome of the working women was the societal disapproval of a working women and these women were often times categorized together with prostitutes. At this time women only made up seven and half percent of the workforce. (Burnett, 2010)
As strides continued to be taken, it wasn’t until 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party took power from the Nationalists and formed the People’s Republic of China. This is when women started to be impacted greatly. The new government formed came with the new idea of equality for the masses, and this full-fledged equality included women. The Communist Party’s first constitution was ratified in 1954 and declared women to be full citizens; this was a huge step for women. Women now had equal rights with men in all areas. New laws were created and all expressed equality, from women obtaining divorces, owning property, pursuing a formal education, and receive equal pay for equal work. The Chinese Communist Party took great stance in its belief of equal rights and female equality, mentioning that women in the workforce were an integral part of state development.