The Chinese traditional society regarded women as second class citizens who did not have the rights and freedoms that were enjoyed by men. It is not until 1949 that women began enjoying their rights. There were no equal education opportunities for boys and girls in traditional China as girls were regarded as passing members of the family who would be married off and therefore lacked long term economic benefits (Croll, 2005). According to Chatterjee (2003), the societal structures were modelled in a manner that placed women in an inferior position with a minor role of taking care of children and in-laws. They were expected to demonstrate humility in their subservient role. Women were regarded as ‘passive and unambitious’ and hence were considered to be of no value to economic development in China. Some Chinese folktales depict the society’s view of women that degraded women’s status through such phrases as ‘girls are maggots in rice’ while arguments of the greater value of geese than girls was a common semantic among many traditional Chinese families (Cheraghi, 2013).
Croll (2005) observes that infant mortality was higher in girls than boys among underprivileged traditional Chinese families as a result of contempt by the parents and other community members. Becoming pregnant out of wedlock was regarded as an abomination for the girl and the family to the society yet the man involved went unpunished. Suicide was therefore common among unfortunate girls who got pregnant before marriage. Chinese parents ensured that girls were married off as soon as the mature, which made their stay at home transitory. No family could therefore ‘waste’ resources contributing to the intellectual development. Women were forced in to unhappy pre-arranged marriages for which they had no option. Cruel in-laws made it worse for women as they were not allowed go back to ...Show more