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Employment of Women in Chinese Cultures

Half the Sky

Edited by Cherlyn Skromme Granrose

Examining the employment lives of Chinese women living under different government systems at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the contributors to this volume present an overview of factors affecting the employment status of women. The volume includes chapters on the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore – nations that have common Chinese cultural experiences but very different economic systems and government structures.
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Chapter 8: Chinese Women, Half the Sky, Little Ground: Comparative Comments on Chinese Women’s Lives Under Various Government Systems

Cherlyn Skromme Granrose


Cherlyn Skromme Granrose If we look at the reports from the previous chapters, what can we say about Chinese women at the turn of the twenty-first century? Certainly they are employed in great numbers and work to hold up half the sky, but they do not receive equal wages for their work and they do not hold positions of equal status to men in any of the societies we have examined in this volume. Despite a variety of government efforts and a variety of government systems, there is no system that has been able to overcome the Chinese ancient traditions to value sons over daughters. In this conclusion I will use the theoretical framework described in the early chapter that highlights national career identity, national career beliefs, national career behavior and national career processes, to give an initial structure to the discussion of how each government system has or has not influenced women’s work lives. In order to explain the overall findings in each location, I use both Western theoretical explanations of why gender differences might arise as well as Chinese cultural foundations of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Legalism. In the brief review of the Western theories described in Chapter 1, gender role socialization theory posits that gender differences in employment arise because boys and girls are taught early in their lives to prefer different things, and this leads them to select different careers that lead to differences in pay and opportunity....

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