China went through a nationwide reform in the 20th century. Plagued by the traditional pressures and cultural values, it was difficult for women to embrace freedom and modernity immediately. However, the internal rebellions, political changes, an introduction of new reformsetc., brought an end to the dynasty system. China strived to step up and gain its position in the international arena, for which they had to embrace the inevitable, modernity. Chinese scholars believed that in order for their survival in the modern world they had to form national citizenry which focused upon modernity and nationalism. Modernity suggested the acceptance of women as an important part of the process by acknowledging their significant contribution to the upholding of their cultures, traditions, and the economy. Women thus played a key role in shaping the modern China of today which is known for its strong societal and economic standing(Rudolph, n.d.).
Marriage laws supported individual choice more than suppressed obligation to marry and the family structure changes highly. With women becoming more independent, the joint family system was replaced by a highly individualistic living culture with small families. The one child law gave women more time to do something other than child rearing and thus, many resorted to completing their education and seeking active careers. However, culture did play a significant role in the re-shaping of the one-child rule to a two-child one for the purpose of obtaining a son in a family(Hershatter, 2007).