Morality class runs counter to women’s empowerment

By Su Tan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/4 22:43:39

An absurd women's morality class being run in the city of Fushun, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, triggered an outcry among Internet users. Students were told a woman ordering food delivery is not virtuous. Women should stay at the bottom of society as they are inferior to men, according to the teacher. The local education authority ordered the school cancel the class.

This is not the first time for such silliness. In May, Ding Xuan, an expert on traditional Chinese culture and values for women, drew criticism for preaching that a girl's best dowry is chastity and that it was vulgar for women to wear revealing clothes.

Gender equality was written into the Chinese Constitution in 1954 and was included as basic state policy in 2012. While the concept of women's equality is deeply rooted across the country, these cases suggest China might still have some way to go.

To be fair, remarkable progress has been made in women's liberation since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, in 2015, 99.88 percent of school-age girls attended elementary school, almost the same as boys. And the number of girls receiving higher education was basically equal to that of boys. Women made up about 43 percent of the total workforce in 2015.

Progress in gender equality has partly contributed to China's exceptional development. And Chinese women enjoy a high standing even from a global perspective.

This is in stark contrast to neighboring India where Indian women with a bachelor's-level education account for a mere 6.72 percent of the total population. In terms of female participation in the workforce, the country ranked 121 out of 131 countries in 2013 by the International Labor Organization, according to a BBC report. It is partly because India didn't experience a women's liberation revolution that the country's efforts to improve the pace and quality of development have faltered.

The importance of women's role in society can never be overemphasized. But as the recent cases show, women are still to some degree relegated to roles involving housework, inferiority and dependence. Many still seem to think women live only to please men.

Being submissive and obedient won't bring women happiness and runs counter to the country's development. China has to continue promoting gender equality.



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