I am writing this editorial on International Women’s Day so without much prompting, my mind shifts gear into thinking about Chinese women. As a Chinese woman living in a global world, I am sad to say there is not much to celebrate on this year’s International Women’s Day.
The news tells us there is much violence against women. All over the world. The crimes against women in first and third world countries are horrifying. Women still do not get equal pay even in so-called first world countries like Australia & the USA. Besides the economics, Australia is woefully far behind when it comes to politics. Our first woman Prime Minister was booted out and our first woman Minister of Foreign Affairs has just resigned! As for Chinese women in Australia, we are invisible in the media, except for one or two like Senator Penny Wong. A Chinese in terms of her ethnic heritage, a lesbian and a senator, she is a woman to be respected and I admire her greatly. So for our Chinese young girls who are looking for a role model in Australia, or in the world, it is a challenge.
Perhaps, women in China fare better, you may say for after all, Chairman Mao proclaimed that the women of China held up half the sky! I am being ironic here. When he died, and the Cultural Revolution was exposed for what it really was – it was women who suffered most. When China opened up to the West, the one child policy came into being in 1979, again it was girls and women who had it bad for the ancient practice of female infanticide was immediately resurrected and widely practised. I read the book “The Good Women of China” and was appalled that so many thousands of Chinese women went through such horrors in modern day China.
So on International Women’s day 2019, what have been achieved for women in general? Where is the equality for women? Perhaps these are not the right questions to ask. Perhaps the questions should be: Do we want equality as women? Why would women want to be equal to men anyway? Perhaps we should go for equity. Equity means that individuals are treated according to their needs. I don’t have an answer and not many people do for centuries. However, what I do know is that many young Chinese women do not discuss equality amongst men and women. I do not think they are even very concerned about such an issue. They feel free from the constraints of the gender trap. If feeling is the same as social reality, then perhaps we can say the gender trap no longer exists in China.
Unfortunately, feeling is not the same as the actual reality hence China, for all its super power status, still have women trapped in traditional bondage especially in the rural areas. Much like the rest of the world. Until the world’s women populations are freed from such bondage and its attendant violence perpetuated by men, I can only wish everyone an Unhappy International Women’s Day!!