The Effects of Gender Roles on Chinese Natal Policies

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The Effects of Gender Roles on Chinese Natal Policies
China is quickly becoming a very prosperous nation. There is one aspect, however, that threatens to derail its rise to prosperity, the exponentially high birth rates. To combat China’s growing population, government officials enforced an anti-natalist policy known as the One-Child Policy. Ultimately, the policy “amounted to an assault on China’s system of gender norms and roles” (“Family Planning”). With the implementation of China’s One Child Policy, sex preference among babies has become evident. Socially, it has been the duty of a woman to “obey her father as a child; her husband as a married person; and her son as a widow” (“Confucianism: Woman’s Way”). In regards to the
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This notion exists because China is built on tradition. In Chinese tradition, women are solely homemakers and have no purpose outside the home. Thus, men felt that if tradition was disrupted, chaos would be unleashed throughout China. Although these laws were created to prevent discrimination, they were not enforced. As a result, discrimination continued. Experts say that “only few women dare to sue employers for unfair hiring practices, dismissal on grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave, or sexual harassment” (“Equality Still a Dream”). Ultimately, women are able to work outside the home in modern-day China; however, they are still hesitant to defend themselves out of fear of losing their jobs. Preference between males and females still exists in the workforce due to the fact that males are not subject to paternity leaves or sexual harassment. Commonly, women are restricted to behind-the-desk jobs such as secretaries, financial analysts, and librarians as that require very little labor. Indubitably, women also earn less than men as “they must retire five years earlier than men who are in the same jobs” (“Equality Still a Dream”). Thus, a male is preferred as his role in the workforce is considered to be more substantial than that of a woman, which further emphasizes a son-preference in China.
Not only are a woman’s social status and contribution to the workforce causes of the One-Child Policy,
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