WOMEN‘S ROLE IN CHINESE SOCIETY - NEW TV SHOW TRIGGERS A DEBATE
Tencent Video released the first female monologue TV show in China –
HEAR HER 听见她说 - related to societal pressures and expectations on women. It is great to see that these cultural norms are openly discussed in modern China.
Read more about the show and its impact in this article from DaoInsights: full article
It is also worth watching the first episode about unfair beauty expectations even if you don‘t understand mandarin - the intense pictures speak for themselves:
Describing the role of women and gender equality in Chinese society is extremely complex and contradictory:
On the one hand China was the first country to incorporate gender equality in their preliminary constitution in 1949 and the Communist Party promoted the slogan "Women hold up half the sky". In the gender inequality index (http://hdr.undp.org/en/data ) China scores slightly better than the USA and the gap to Germany is not very big. China has one of the highest female labour force participation rates in the world (https://ourworldindata.org/female-labor-supply ) and most women working full-time. During the last 4 decades education of girls made enormous progress and today the literacy rate of men & women is >95%.
On the other hand, there is a strong cultural tradition of gender inequality in China which still influences todays’ culture massively. Abortion of female fetuses is still widespread in China even if prenatal gender determination is officially not allowed. This leads to a significant imbalance in gender-ratio at birth and to sex-ratio with far more men than women, especially in the younger generations. Traditionally, especially in rural China a daughter, who is married is considered as spilled water – she has no value to her own family because she becomes a part of her husband’s family and has to care for her parents-in-law. The movie “SPILLED WATER” from 2014 explores how the economic transformation of China is changing the roles, rights, and social status of its women: https://www.spilledwaterdoc.com/
Women are still completely under-represented in the Communist Parties higher decision-making bodies and only a bit more that 20% of Party-members are female. Families put their daughters under an enormous pressure to find a husband in their mid-twenties – the term “Leftover women” classifies women who remain unmarried in their late twenties and beyond. SK-II addressed the topic already in 2016 with the very controversial campaign “Marriage Market Takeover” and in 2017 with the video “The Expiry Date”
At the same time woman are expected to make a career in a demanding 996 working scheme and fulfil beauty ideals which are promoted by unrealistic Chinese & Korean soap operas.
An extremely popular exception which rather portraits modern & independent women is “NOTHING BUT THIRTY”
(available with English subtitles: