Women, Gender and Rural Development in China

Women, Gender and Rural Development in China

Edited by Tamara Jacka and Sally Sargeson

This multidisciplinary book explores gender politics in the discourses and practices of development in rural China. The contributors – scholars in political science, anthropology, gender, development and Chinese studies – examine how differently positioned women are shaping rural development, and how development is affecting women’s capabilities and gender power relations.

Chapter 5: ‘Good Citizens Prefer Daughters’: Gender, Rurality and the Care for Girls Campaign

Lisa Eklund

Subjects: asian studies, asian social policy, development studies, family and gender policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, family and gender policy, social policy in emerging countries


1 Lisa Eklund INTRODUCTION In the 2000s a growing imbalance in the sex ratio at birth (SRB)2 was identified by the Chinese government as a development issue, affecting harmonious and sustainable development, and ultimately the peace and stability of the country (SFPC 2002: 1). Imbalanced SRB is believed to cause an increase in violence against women, including sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women and girls, as well as the likelihood that tens of millions of men will be unable to find a marriage partner (CGC 2006a). In order to address the issue, the Chinese government launched the Care for Girls Campaign (hereafter referred to as the Campaign), which has as its objectives to improve the value of the girl child, promote gender equality, and normalize the SRB by the year 2020 (CGC 2006b). The Campaign was piloted in 11 counties in 2003 and in 13 counties in 2004, and has since been scaled up to a nation-wide campaign (Li, Shuzhuo 2007; Wei and Gao 2007). It consists of five core components: (1) awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns to promote ‘new marriage and childbearing customs’; (2) a strengthening of reproductive health services and management; (3) beneficial socio-economic policies for one-child or two-daughter families; (4) strengthened management of sex determination and sexselective abortions; and (5) improvements in statistical and reporting systems (CGC 2006a). Although data show that the SRB has declined in the pilot counties of the Campaign from 133.8 in 2000 to 119.6 in 2005 (Li, Shuzhuo 2007), there has...

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