Presentation on theme: "Marry well or work well: Gender regime under Chinese market reform Xu Jie Associate professor, political economy Northeast forestry University, Harbin."— Presentation transcript:
Marry well or work well: Gender regime under Chinese market reform Xu Jie Associate professor, political economy Northeast forestry University, Harbin ， China
Introduction marry well rather than work well (popular Chinese saying) A survey in 2003 covering 2,493 women in 30 provinces found that 40.5% of women agreed with the statement ‘ marry well, rather than work well ’, 34.5% were neutral; and only 25% refuted the statement (Minhuan Li, 2004)
Criteria of a good husband the majority of women admitted economic circumstances were their key consideration when looking at a prospective husband. Some claimed marrying well means ‘ marrying a rich man
Woman hold up half of the sky Marry well rather than work well
Gender regime is a concept originated from Connell (1987), refers to the state of play of gender relations in a given institution. Many feminist economists use a similar term such as gender system, gender contract, gender settlement, gender order and gender arrangement. Broomhill and Sharp (2007), used the concept of the ‘ gender regime ’ or ‘ gender arrangements ’ : … ‘ [to] describe the power relations between man and woman embedded in the formal and informal institutions, cultural norms and social practice that contribute to social coherence and change in different societies ’.
Marriage is an important aspect of gender relations, and is structured within a number of contexts. Property relationships, the labour market, ideology, cultural norms and government policies have a important, but sometimes contradictory influence. In a climate of rapid economic and policy changes we need to examine changes and continuities in the gender regime to assess the potential for gender equality in China. I will focus primarily on changing norms and values, or cultural attitudes to marriage, during the periods of feudalism, revolution and market reform.
Gender regime and parent-arranged marriage model in feudal China ◆ ◆ Confucianism: three obedience and four virtues marriage was arranged by parents and a matchmaker
◆ ◆ social standing matching a bamboo door with a bamboo door and a wooden door with a wooden door multiple wives and concubines
The property relationship in feudal China excluded women from owing private property and reinforced male-economic power. Meantime, a married woman was excluded from paid work and had to put her fate in her husband ’ s hands
In feudal China All her virtues were expected to be found in her absolutely submissiveness to husband and husband ’ s family. Her most important task was to procreate, and especially, to give birth to male children
Work well and woman ’ s dual-roles from 1949 to 1978 In 1949, the People ’ s Republic of China was founded. Communist Party of China (CPC) attempt to improve Chinese women ’ s status in political, economic, cultural, educational and social life under a powerful central government.
Try to choose partners freely. ◆ ◆ 1:The Marriage Law 2: All-China Woman Federation (ACWF) 3: Propaganda
New criteria of a good husband A good husband should have political prospects, so a young man who was a member of the CPC would be more likely to be admired by women. ◆ ◆ Marry a male urban resident
Women were encouraged to participate in paid work ◆ ◆ As Engels pointed out that gender equality would not be attained unless women jointly participated in production with men and could depend on their own income.
Women ’ s dual -roles The government did not value housework and care work. Norms of values of Confucianism made housework and care work natural for woman Heavy burden
Do women ’ s movements have an independent purpose? we must have a clear historical materialist view point and make a clear class analysis of the ideological viewpoints of the women of different class positions, and not raise questions of conception of life and viewpoints of love, which have a strict class nature, as abstract, general questions of the “ female and male
Marry a wealthy man: gender inequality after 1970s China ’ s market reform
It is harder for woman to work well ◆ ◆ Xiagang( unemployment arising from the restructuring of the state-owned enterprises （ SOEs)) ◆ ◆ Gender discrimination in labor market
It is more attractive to marry well ◆ ◆ Income gap ◆ ◆ The life style of wealthy man and their wives are considered as a symbolic of successful life ◆ ◆ It is possible to marry a wealthy man
conclusion mainstream economists attribute marriage arrangement to individual choices. However, the individual is not a “ separative ” individuality, it is a identity structured in a formal and informal rules. The popular saying “ marry well rather than work well ”, underlies changes emerging in China ’ s gender regime.
The former are obedience to her father before marriage, her husband after marriage, and her son on her husband ’ s death; and the latter: virtue, appropriate speech, a modest manner, and diligence
The marriage law which was decreed in 1950, redefined intra-family relations and tried to remove the arbitrary and compulsory feudal marriage system that was based on patriarchal ideology. Women, as well as men, were free to select their partner and bigamy is prohibited, as are concubinage, child betrothal, and interference with the remarriage of widows. Divorce was to be granted when both couples agreed.
marry an urban resident In the countryside, peasants worked very hard for little reward, some were starving because they had no food allocation as did residents of the city, and they had no access to social benefits such as health care and a retirement pension. It was forbidden for peasants to live in the city; ‘ HuKou ’  was used to restrict residents from migrating. Under the planned economy, urban families were allocated necessities according to HuKou. If a female peasant wanted to live in the city, she had two choices; one was to go to college and the other to marry an urban resident of the city. Many female peasants were willing to choose a husband just because he was an urban resident.   HuKou is a registration process allowing one to live in the city. 
In rural areas women had rights to redistributed land for the first time. When the rural communities ‘ Gong She ’, were established, land was owned collectively and work points were distributed, with women and man having rights to their own work point. But women usually received fewer work points, because the regulations stipulated that the maximum work points per day for a woman were eight compared to a man ’ s ten.  A work point is a method of evaluating the amount of work someone performs in a rural community.
In urban areas women could be employed by different types of firms. The number of female workers increased 23.7 percent per year, compared to 15 percent per year for the total workforce, from 1949 to 1956. In 1957, 70 percent of woman in rural areas took part in agricultural production, and at the same time, there were 32,860,000 female workers in urban areas, an increase of 450% since 1949.
Under the planned economy, state-owned enterprises dominated 90 percent of the urban economy and employed approximately 78 percent of all urban workers. Being a collective owned by the government, its capital was provided by government and all its profits was taken away consequently, the government provided the human resources for the SOEs as well. It was impossible for leaders of SOEs to fire a worker unless he or she broke the law.
Since SOEs were not pursing profit, its workers ’ gender was of no account, woman and man were generally be accepted. With the transition to a market economy, the Chinese government encouraged SOEs to become a profit-maximizing unit and they were permitted to lay off workers. Xiagang, a word strange to Chinese, began to change their life.
They will get pregnant, which means I have to pay her for a holiday to give birth and take care of the baby. Furthermore, she won ’ t be able to concentrate on her job after she becomes a mother because she will always want to spend every minute with her baby.
as a survey by the Peoples University that covered 75 firms showed: only three firms were happy to hire females first.
It is estimated that, in China, 3.3 percent of the population has more than ¥ 1 million, approximately ＄ 125,000, 440,000 own more than ¥ 10 million, 180,000 more than ¥ 100 million.
A woman teacher who graduated from university one year ago, and now serves as a form mistress at a key middle school says, ‘ I am so tired; I would like to stay at home, just cooking and washing. It would be good to be a full-time housewife ’.
A woman postgraduate who is looking for a job says, ‘ I envy those housewives who need not work. I once worked as a governess for two Korean children, and their mother is a housewife. She knew how to take care of herself, and looks much younger than her age. Her only responsibility is rearing her children; she has no other worries. I think this is a good way to be particularly for the children
Some constrains of “ HuKou ” are disappearing Many wealthy man have no brilliant social background