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The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China$
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Shenggen Fan, Ravi Kanbur, Shang-Jin Wei, and Xiaobo Zhang

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678204

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678204.001.0001

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Gender and China’s development

Gender and China’s development

80 Gender and China’s development
The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China

Xiao-yuan Dong

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the experiences of Chinese women under socialism and during the economic transition. The experiences of Chinese women show that economic growth does not automatically lead to greater gender equality and may even increase women’s vulnerability under certain circumstances. The setbacks in Chinese women’s hard-won battle for gender equality presents two important lessons. First, sustainable progress in gender equality requires a fundamental transformation of the deep-rooted societal mindsets that view taking care of family members as ‘the natural duty of women’ and women’s own private matters. Second, a top-down approach to gender equality is vulnerable to policy reversals; women must play an active role in challenging ideologies and institutions that place them in a subordinate position, and empower themselves both economically and politically.

Keywords:   Chinese women, gender equality, socialism, economic transition, urban women

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