Women’s political representation in China: a historical account

Tangeraas Hansen, Birte (2014) Women’s political representation in China: a historical account. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Next year, 10 years will have passed since China hosted the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where the Communist Party of China pledged to address obstacles preventing women’s advancement in society and on the political arena. The issue of gender is even more pressing now as China faces an increasingly imbalanced sex ratio, produced by centuries of couples favouring male heirs due to traditional cultural connotations denoting females as the weaker sex. The women’s movement in China started with the liberation from traditional chains that oppressed women as lesser individuals in society. The struggle to move from a patriarchal system at home encouraged a challenge to gain access in the mirrored patriarchal political structure and sphere of influence. Inequality still prevails in the Chinese political hierarchy, even with the progress made during the last decades. Financial independence created more opportunities for women in terms of mobility, marriage and education, however women’s right to political power is still largely denied. It seems that political participation and women’s movements in China appear in certain time periods of crucial change.
    By using historical analysis of two main eras in Chinese history, namely the Mao era and the post Mao era, this dissertation aims to explore socio-political factors argued to have prevented increased political participation and representation of women in contemporary China. Statistical analysis contributes to demonstrate to what extent women were politically represented in two of the main governing bodies; the Party Central Committee and the Political Bureau. Introduction and evaluation of formal actions implemented by the Communist Party in the Mao and post Mao eras will determine if women’s political participation has increased in Chinese governance today. Confucius teachings directing gender roles, strong ideological theories exercised by a highly centralised patriarchal state, controversial laws and elitism are socio-political factors argued to have prevented women’s full equality with men in the political sphere.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 11:27
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:45
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/16102

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