Lisa Fry


Women’s human rights in China have an intriguing history and a challenging present. In ancient China, Confucianism espoused the virtues of silent women who stayed at home. During the Maoist period, on the other hand, gender equality was prioritized by the state, and women were equally appointed to leadership positions and agricultural collectives with men. After Mao’s death, the country transitioned to a social market economic system that resulted in a loss of state support for gender equity. Today, the rights of women in China are not clearly defined, protected, or promoted. China’s patriarchal traditions have reasserted themselves, obstructing women’s economic human rights, such as the right to land and the right to work. There is a wide gap between the rhetoric of the Chinese government regarding women’s rights and the actual experiences of women.

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