Edited by Sarah Biddulph and Joshua Rosenzweig
Chapter 13: Women’s rights and gender equality in China: the development and struggle in chains of state feminism
This chapter examines women’s rights and gender equality in contemporary China from the perspectives of healthcare, education, employment, politics and public life, as well as marriage and property rights. The examination shows how state feminism, which underpins a patriarchal protective model of laws and policies and embeds an instrumentalist conception of women, effectively exacerbates gender inequality and further harms women’s rights and interests in China’s traditionally ingrained patriarchal society. After China hosted the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the rights-based feminist movement promoting gender equality has started to gain impetus. Nevertheless, the movement has been subject to intense suppression from the authorities that seek to uphold overall control of the regime. In this sense, an observation of contemporary Chinese feminism also provides a lens for understanding the correlation and interaction between authoritarian power and counter-power movements in China.
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