Gender Inequality In Ancient China Essay

In China, gender inequality still exists between husbands and wives; however, ever since 1950, the tendency of gender positions shared in a marriage is increasing. Both traditional and modern marriages require dowries and bride prices from both families, whereas the economic grows, either one side of the family has to disburse more to the other family. Moreover, the one who has higher education or earn the most has the authority in household. Working inequality is still present in some cities of China, however, the unfairness has improved distinctly from the past.

The divorce rate is increasing, since women have the right to divorce and freedom to choose. In ancient China, due to women had overwhelmed by domination of men in marriages, marriages for women were unfair, where they treated different in education, work, property ownership, and decision of divorce and freedom. Dowries are the gifts that given by both sides of the families in a Chinese wedding; however, in different decades, the value of the dowry is increasing while people are getting wealthier.

In the past, the purpose of dowries was for the new couple to build their new family, also, that was a way to prevent the bride by contemned or treated badly by the groom’s family. If the bride give a considerable dowry to the groom’s family, she will have large influence within the family. Other than the dowry, the bride sometime had to arrange their households and properties while the groom’s side did not do that. During agriculture era, rural family lived by farming, so that, they usually had domestic animals, or useful farm implements as dowries.

On the other hand, urban family was more materialism than rural family, ho had electronics as dowries. Nevertheless, modern dowry is not as less-value as previously, which means the groom has to give the bride’s family a pricey “bride price” in order to approve by the bride’s father to marry her. According to a story from the news, the groom has given 68,888 yuan (14319 CAD in 2015), which is 58,888 yuan (12,240 CAD in 2015) more than usual. The bride price is higher than couple decades ago, even though, the groom does not have to worry about the money. As economic growth is increasing, the groom’s parents have preserved more money for their son’s marriage.

In present, Men often have an apartment, a car, or/and bride price as a dowry to the bride’s side, as a matter of fact, a 2011 survey has shown that about 70% of Chinese women agree a man to provide an apartment as dowry. According to an article, it says, ‘a man is not a man if he doesn’t own a house,’ and marriage is more materialistic. Nowadays, dowry becomes more valuable when comparing to the past, also, dowry is no longer given by bride. In ancient China, women and men were served unequally in education; therefore, husbands who were smarter in order to manage the households and properties, and wives did housework and bearing child.

During Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), women were not qualified to be educated, thence, most of them were illiterate. Furthermore, women were not likely as men, who had contact with the society, women no longer had information about themselves and the world. As woman had less wisdom than man, woman was prohibited to inherit land after her husband’s death; also, widow who without descendants had to find nephew to succeed the land and belongings. Still, men were not always acted as the domination.

About 1900, the increased number of girl’s schools had stimulated women to attend schools, the equality in education between men and women was increasing, which women had gained some power in a family. Around 1950, besides men, women could own the properties (even half of the ownership). After 1950, many women had received a superior education, which supported by their families, their educated degrees might even higher than their husbands’. As stated in the news, a woman says she has a job and studies over seas, however, she just wants “a husband who didn’t sit at home all day, watching sports on television.

From these words, it shows that woman gets more education in order to have a better job, which may transcend her husband’s ability. Right now, women has raised the prenuptial agreements to control all their husbands’ incomes, which the husband has to turn all the earnings to the wife while they only get back some money as allowance. Additionally, husband is responsible to maintain the house and take care of family, unlike before, husband was just working and relied the wife to do all the housework and child-bearing.

While the wife has responsibility of cooking and cleaning, the husband has to wash dishes and ironing clothes. According to a book, it says that “in Shanghai, man is the better housekeeper and cook, while the woman manages the money. ” Moreover, in Yunnan, women have the ownerships of properties, and men accompany with their wives at their wish. From the news, it shows that 3/4 of Chinese women are having control of the earning of their husband, which is 7% higher than the number of men who have freedom on decision.

Since 1950, the power of husbands in a family has weakened as the number of educated wives is increasing The workplaces and jobs between the husband and wife are changing when the economic needs are different. About 1840, people were saying “men plant, and women weave,” which women were always stayed around home when men were outside. In the past, women’s obligations in a marriage were to cook for the family, clean the house and to rear a child; also, they were asked to weaving, spinning and sewing to earn a bit for the family.

For the husbands, they would sell products as additional income to support their family. About 1860, wife was more important than before, since many new products cut into China’s wold market, which made the husbands earned less than before. Wives were required to use their weaving, spinning and sewing skills to earn for household. After 1950, educated women finding a job seemed easier than no education women, however, unequal wages, lack of nursery and child-care facilities made women had difficulty to seek employment.

Wife is marked as caregivers even she has a job, therefore, in the ancient China, husband would not help caring the child after work. Nonetheless, in 1979, some workers of metal-working lathes, precision grinders, compound drilling machines, planer machines, and the operators of the overhead cranes were women. Those works were all ran by men, though, women who had same education as men might get a chance. Even though, man and woman had worked in the same position, but they might get different wages due to woman had assigned nontechnical job.

Since ancient times, patriarchy, which is the domination of men over women in a society, had presented in work, marriage and other areas all around in China; nowadays, society is more equal in work between men and women. The consequence of that has increased the equality between husband and wife as well. According to the global map in the book, Chinese women’s social standing is above average, which woman has similar social position as man. As husband and wife have similar social status, this explains why man is willing to share the housework than the old days.

The type of job affects the social standing of men and women, which also influence their positions between a marriage. In ancient China, divorce was always a one way decision, which man had the right to ask for divorce, but women could not. As a husband, who had many excuses to divorce his spouse, such as “barrenness, licentiousness, failure to serve parents-in-law, loquacity, theft, jealousy, or serious disease,” these are the “7 grounds of divorce. ” If the wife has met one of the grounds, the husband can divorce. However, the “7 grounds of divorce” could not apply on the husbands, women had no right to divorce.

After a law code had published in late 1920 and early 1930, which arranged marriage had been repealed, sale of women were prohibited, and widows could be remarry. Moreover, women had the right to divorce if abandoned by husbands, suffered physical abuse, or attempted sale into prostitution by the husbands. In the mean time, husband could not launch divorce for barrenness, loquacity, theft, or jealousy. The Marriage Law of 1950 had protected women from many terrible behaviours, such as arranged marriages, concubinage, dowries, and child brides.

According to the book, polygamy still exist in ancient China, which a person can have two or more spouses in a marriage; however, around 1990, China is only permitted monogamy, which is two partners in a marriage. When the 1950 Marriage Law has established, due to annoyed by the husband had concubinage, and saw some women had been abandoned by their husbands after the long year of war, it encouraged a trend of divorce. As men had chosen his wives in the past of China, women are going to choose their partners right now. Other than gaining the right of divorce, the Marriage Law had given women freedom to choose.

In the article, it indicated that youths have freedom to choose their own marriage partners, and women attempt to divorce and possess properties ownerships. Nowadays, according to the news, as the growing divorce rate is increasing, which reflects women are gaining more social and economic freedom. More than 70% of divorce are asked by the wives because of their husbands have an affair. Additionally in the book, it shows that the rate and the acceptance of exogamy is increasing, since in the past was endogamy, which women had no right to choose.