Female-specific concerns continued to be ignored during the cultural revolution when equality between sexes was assumed and class war took center stage. In Chinas post 1980 modernization efforts, new tensions have emerged as women are urged to return to their traditional roles at home and at work, and to feminize their physical appearance. At the same time, the old ideal of the worker who forsakes even family duties to selflessly contribute to society still holds. A new slogan, coined by a detractor to todays modernization drive, claims that now Women Hold Up Two skies! Propaganda posters dramatically illustrate these shifts from revolutionary times to today when, although over 80 percent of women work outside their homes and some participate in political activities, it is clear that habits established thousands of years ago do not easily movie disappear. Womens Work: Beliefs in gender difference find reflection in the age-old assignment of women to womens work, and men to theirs. This can be seen in the predominance of women in the essential work of cloth production. The Zhou (Chou) period (1100-770.
The communists, for their part, turned away from what they saw as bourgeois feminist reforms to attack the socioeconomic conditions they perceived as the source of all female oppressions. The idea was that once gender difference was erased, women would be freed to help spearhead the new society. Mao zedong coined the phrase women Hold Up Half the sky, and set in motion a campaign to get women out of the home and into the work force. Selections from oral histories collected during the period illustrate his attempts to mobilize the lowest in society, the female peasant, so she could confront feudal fathers, husbands or landlords. Ultimately, the need to develop a sense of solidarity between male and female peasants as both subjects of oppression resulted in criticizing concerns relating to women alone. Such was the fate of author Ding Ling, the most prominent female writer of her generation, whose attack on the sexist attitudes of her comrades resulted in suppression. The state also failed to deal with opposition to the progressive changes embodied in the marriage law of 1950, which granted young people the right to choose their own marriage partners, and women to initiate divorce and to inherit property.essay
Japans rebellious writers can be compared to those in China where in the decades between 19kind of womens emancipation movement also emerged. As young people were drawn into the struggle against imperialism and traditional Chinese society, women in the 1919 may fourth movement (also called the new Cultural movement) experienced for the first time their own emancipation and wrote about social restraints within the traditional authoritarian family. Using the slogan, down with Confucius and his disciples they sought personal fulfillment and fought for substantial changes in womens legal status. Throughout the 1920s and early 30s, familial conflicts raged over bobbed hair, coeducation, and freedom in love and marriage. The dolls house was popular reading as young people thought of their own lives when trying to answer the question, What happens to nora after she leaves home? During Chinas long revolutionary years the state both promoted and negated new roles for women. The most severe reaction against female activism was the guomindangs counter revolution, called the White terror ( when female activists were accused of being instigators of societal chaos. During Chiang kai-sheks relentless hunt for Communists, thousand of women were murdered and raped, including those who had simply bobbed their hair.
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The phrase good wife, wise mother was coined, meaning that in order become good citizens women had to become educated and take part in public affairs. The drive to encourage women to adopt new modern ways was pervasive. Woodblock prints were qualitative even circulated showing previously forbidden views of women in the imperial family attending public events adorned in western Victorian-era clothes. In spite of these efforts, conservative legislators reasserted neoconfucian family values by passing restrictive laws, codes, and a new constitution. Women were denied the right to any political participation, including even taking political science courses, and married women lost some of the legal rights they had held during the Shogunate.
The termgood wife, wise mother was reinterpreted to refer to a woman who sacrificed herself to her family welfare, an ideal that finds some resonance today. The challenge to unequal gender difference was mounted anew in the 1910s when women in Japans second wave feminism set about to oppose the neoconfucian ideology of good wife, wise mother. One, hiratsuka haruko (pen name raicho in 1911 founded the feminist magazine. Seito (Bluestocking where its contributors considered broad social issues such as freedom of love and marriage. Not surprisingly, the magazine was often censored and banned.
Shikibu murasaki, sei shogonon, and other heian female writers. Womens independence was increasing limited during the long centuries of shogunate rule. Although in the early feudal period samurai women took a considerable role in household management and defense, by the tokugawa Shogunate (1600-1868 womens rights within the samurai family were practically nonexistent. Three obediences dictated their lives: When she is young, she obeys her father; when she is married, she obeys her husband; when she is widowed, she obeys her son. The 1762 treatise called. Greater learning for Women illustrates this neoconfucian ideal of proper female behavior.
By the late nineteenth, early twentieth centuries, serious challenges to accepted beliefs about gender were mounted in both Japan and China. Although concerns about womens position had been expressed earlier, the concept of womens liberation became a major motivating force within the eras nationalist, reform, and revolution movements. Male nationalists initiated the discussion by arguing that an improvement in the status of women was essential to their countrys acceptance by other technologically advanced nations. A core of educated women in both Japan and China joined the call by speaking and writing in public for the first time. Conservative nationalists and traditionalists in Japan and China at different times reacted by mounting long campaigns against any change in gender roles. Ultimately female activists were labeled unseemly, unfeminine, and too western. An ideal case study of this action/reaction phenomenon is Japans meiji restoration (1868-1912) when the nations rapid transformation from a feudal shogunate to modern nation opened the door for female public participation. Through speeches, magazines, and within newly formed political parties, a small group labeled Japans first wave feminists tried to raise womens consciousness about their subordinate position.
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Within Shintoism women held power as mikos, a type of shaman with divination abilities. Before the 8th century, half of Japans reigning female sovereigns, such as the popular semi-legendary empress Jingu, were believed to have shaman-like powers. Japans sun goddess Amaterasu, to whom every emperor has had to claim direct descendancy, was also worshiped as a symbol of female mystical power. Her Great Shrine at Ise, cared for by high priestesses, still plays an important role in the lives of the japanese today. The more positive influences of Shintoism were weakened by the samurai culture and spread of Confucianism and Buddhism in Japan. Yet, in the heian era (950-1050. E.) women still held relative equity in marriage, education, and property rights. Gender difference paper in this period favored literate women who were free to write in the expressive, popular vernacular language, while men most often wrote in the more formal, inaccessible, classical Chinese. Both the independence and the gender limits of women of the pampered elite are wonderfully illustrated in the lively, gossipy writings.
Written by for the female historian Ban Zhoa (Han dynasty,. lessons became one of Chinas most durable sources of advice about female behavior. One nugget tells women to yield to others; let her put others first, herself last. In the song dynasty (960-1279. E a reinterpretation of Confucian teaching called neoconfucianism stratified the position of women even more. Augmented by ideas of wife fidelity and husband worship brought by the mongols, neoconfucian beliefs led to the egregious practices of footbinding, insistence on widow chastity, and the selling of unwanted daughters. Although footbinding illustrates the perceived need to limit female mobility, the practice did not appear until the song Dynasty and was not universally followed. Women of most ethnic minorities, including hakka and Manchu women, did not practice it, nor did some peasants who had to work in the fields, nor did women in Japan. In Japan, the influence of Shintoism lessened the initial impact of neoconfucian on womens lives.
retreated to nunneries, sometimes gave public lectures, and led temple groups. Chinese buddhism was at its height during the reign of wu zetian who promoted the religion and even justified her rule by claiming she was a reincarnation of a previous female buddhist saint. During Wus reign, and throughout the early to mid Tang period, women enjoyed relatively high status and freedom. Lovely tang era paintings and statues depict women on horseback, and as administrators, dancers and musicians. Stories and poems, like those from the pen of the infamous female poet yu xuanji, also attest to the almost modern openness of the period. In contrast, confucianism became the most pervasive doctrine to promote the belief in womens natural place. Confucius himself did not inherently denigrate women, although he placed them at the lower end of the patriarchal family structure. Yet, through the ages the assumption that mens and womens social places and expected behaviors were quite distinct was based on Confucian hierarchical precepts, and were reinforced by prescriptive advice manuals like.
Neither principle is considered subordinate to the other; each complements the other and is capable of expressing both female and male characteristics. Within taoism, then, women were able to seek spiritual fulfillment beyond their family duties. Some joined convents, others gathered with men to discuss philosophy and religion, a few became taoist adepts. Ancient Chinas highest goddess, Hsi huang mu (queen Mother good of the west found in the classic tale. Journey to the west, also expresses aspects of yin/yang beliefs. As yin, this goddess is compassionate, promising immortality; as yang, she is a force who had the power to disrupt the cosmic yin/yang harmony. This pervasive fear that women could bring chaos by upsetting the cosmic harmony was an obstacle for women who aspired to male political leadership. Those who succeeded were accused of breaking one of natures laws, of becoming like a hen crowing.
20 Perfect Topics for Opinion Essays on Gender Equality/Inequality