Revolutions effect on the role of women in China and Russiaby Rit Nosotro
Compare the effect of revolution on the role of women in China and Russia
“Out of Their Homes”
The world has kept a tight leash on women even as they struggled to find their voice. Revolutions have effected the role of women in positive and negative ways. In China and Russia, we will look at the conditions for women before and after their revolutions. Understand that many, many cultures have discriminated against women when it comes to finding jobs in a “man’s world”. Some men have used the Bible to support their positions. Such as the verse in Ephesians 5:21, “Wives, yield to your husbands, as you yield to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the household.” Verses, such as that one, are often taken out of context to support a person’s personal opinions. Now, we’re going to see how revolutions affected the women’s role in the two countries named above.
In the traditional Chinese culture it was believed that childbearing was a women’s only true value. And, when it came to childbearing, the women had to bear at least one son or risk the family’s honor. Here are a few ancient proverbs that demonstrate just how low men thought of wives and daughters: “A woman without talent is a women of virtue” and “It is more profitable to raise geese than daughters”. Women were constantly forbidden to make their own decisions. Not only were they given in arranged marriages but they often followed the “three obediences” which stated the following: obey your father before marriage, your husband after marriage, and your son after your husband’s death. In addition, they also had to face violence if a husband was abusive.
The situations in China were also very real in Russia. The women in this country were not only economically hindered, but there were also violence and even human trafficking in prostitution rings. As in China, Russian women were kept at home and carefully deterred away from job possibilities and education. They were not quite as strict as the Chinese, but they still tried to keep their women dependent on their husbands and fathers. Also, the Chinese had a population problem because of their high birth rate, but the Russians had a lower birth rate that kept decreasing because of the rough country and lifestyle. Sons were still valued over girls, but the daughters were not dealt with as harshly as the Chinese (who would sometimes kill their daughters due to their poverty-stricken state).
Then a communist revolution happened in China near early 1900’s and the women found hope. By law, they were now considered as an equal to men. They were to receive equal pay and many of the “normal” practices (such as foot binding and arranged marriages) were outlawed. Divorces were now permitted. And it was becoming a tradition to see women involved in the labor force and, soon, two generations of highly trained women made inroads into, traditionally, male dominated fields. Although women are now allowed to have jobs and pursue careers, ancient traditions are hard to break. They still face discrimination in the workplace. There are many Chinese women who still find themselves in a marriage whose only benefit is to have children and a stable lifestyle. Many women, even today, seek out men with higher paying jobs than themselves. The national divorce rate is now 10.4 percent. In a land where there was no divorce . . . ever, this is quite a change. Several Chinese social workers who deal with such issues believe that the divorce is actually a beneficial thing when it comes to a woman’s mind. For the first time they are able to make their own decisions and have freedom. However, living as a single woman (especially with children) is growing more difficult. Many Chinese men prefer to not marry a woman who has already been married. So even though the revolution gained the women their freedom, now they must deal with living on their own and living up to the choices they make.
Also in the 1900’s the Russian women were experiencing their own revolution. This revolution was considered a success for women worldwide. Finally, Russian women were welcomed into the workforce and granted 3 years of maternal leave. They were also given state-sponsored child care and abortion rights. However, with the fall of communism women’s voices also fell. And, like in China, women are still discriminated in their workplaces. Also, when a women reaches the age of 22 and still remains single, this will negatively effect her social status. Housework is still a women’s responsibility and marriages often end in a divorce. Sometimes burdened with a child, some women in this situation are forced into prostitution. After all, with a lack of work and loss of support from the husband, how will they feed their children? This is one reason why Russia has a very high rate of AIDS. Also, after the revolution all anti-homosexual laws were eliminated, education was given freely to both sexes until the age of 16, the women got equal pay for equal work, and there was free medical care. Even more amazing, the women in Russia won the right to vote through their actions in 1917, three years before it was granted to Britain and the USA!
Both revolutions gave the women major benefits. But, like most good things, there were many complications attached. Such as the rise of prostitution due to lack of work and the increasing divorce rates. These are new problems with which every woman will now have to deal with as they face life with greater freedom. Also note, that Russia gave their women many more privileges that were not given to the Chinese women. From this we can see that China really did keep a tighter hold unto their traditional ways. But, more importantly, we can see how change is good if the people involved are willing to take responsibility for the end results. God meant for both men and women to live and benefit from one another. He does not want to see one abused or the other raised higher. He believes that marriage is a sacred promise to go through life as equals. Equality and balance is something that the Lord of Creation knows better than anyone else.
“It is hard to find a good wife, because she is worth more than rubies.”
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