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For years, women in China have struggled to stand on their own as the country is a male dominated society. It is with this that women for a long time have encountered challenges in their quest of seeking equality. Efforts made by the communist government to bring the aspect of gender equality in the country have often been met with resistance. However, the fact that the society is male dominated has not discouraged all women in their bid of attaining empowerment. It is with this that this paper analyzes how efforts of women empowerment in the country have taken place, starting from the traditional China. The paper integrates some of the materials written about women and their efforts towards achieving empowerment in the traditional. Women in China have been through a long journey in trying to make their presence felt in the male dominated Chinese society.
Role of Women in the Imperial China
Confucius through his Confucianism ideology came up with the way of living for the Chinese in the 5th and 6th centuries. It is from his ideologies that the roles of Chinese women were defined. Li Chi and James Legge in their book called, Book of Rites show the role of women in the family setting. From the book, married women were expected to have huge respect towards their husbands and their in-laws. According to Li, women were supposed to treat their in-laws with the same respect as they did with their own parents. Prior to serving people, women were supposed to rinse their mouths, wash their hands, comb their hair, fix it with a hairpin, and finally tie it with a fillet on its roots. In addition, they were required to wear a jacket and on top of it a sash. The women were also expected to hang on their left hand side a handkerchief, duster, metal speculum used to get fire and a small spike. On the right hand side, the women were required to hang thread, needle-case and the borer that they would use to get fire from wood.
Women Empowerment through the Script
Grace Fond in her book Record of Past Karma states some of the ways in which women used the script to empower themselves. In her book, Fong states that, “…These women wrote because they wanted to record their thoughts, emotions, and experiences, and because they desired to be heard and understood in their own time and place, as well as by future generations.” This statement shows how women empowered themselves through scripts. It is important to note that Fong has been able to know about how women empowered themselves through the Buddhism religion from Ji Xian’s personal writing. It is from Ji’s collection that Fong was able to write her book and bring the issue of women empowerment through religion.
In the women’s writing book, more evidence of how women in the traditional China wrote can be established. For instance, adolescent girls at that time would write to each other where they expressed their feelings towards their body changes. Some women took to writing to note the nature of friendship that they had with one another. For instance, the friendship that existed between Wu Longyu and Heyuan brought about the popular “sworn sisters” song. The two women expressed their affection towards each other in writing, something that shows that women in the traditional China empowered themselves through writings.
In conclusion the Confucianism ideology introduced in the country during the 5th century provided the base of male dominating over the female species. Such domination is highlighted by the fact that women did not have the authority to make any decisions of their own and were required to be submissive to their male counterparts. However, religion offered a leeway to some of the women who wanted to empower themselves. For instance, it is the will of wanting to become a Buddhist nun that rescued Ji Xian from being married off against her will. Passion was the other way in which women in the traditional Chinese society empowered themselves. Finally, women in the society would empower themselves through script writings with one of the popular script being Ji Xian’s personal writing where she wrote about how religion made her follow her dreams of being a nun.