Role of women in china and japan.
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Gender roles as a topic have been a controversial matter within many countries including China and Japan. Traditional culture at many times has put men at the forefront in almost all aspects while the women were second according to the social hierarchy. In China for instance the matter went out of hands when a contentious policy requiring one child for each family. The same is for Japan as women in the country have always been viewed as passive subjects with reduced roles in the society. After the Second World War, roles of women have been redefined and in the present world women get same attention as the men.
Traditional Women Roles in Japan and India
Within Japan, women are recognized as “ryosai kembo” which means a lovely as well as wise mother. This was a principle that guided women in acknowledging their roles during the past. Majority of the girls showed consent plus happiness in ensuring that this role is fulfilled. The Confucian systems borrowed from China were used in defining what a woman was in the society. These systems maintained that hierarchy was to be followed where men were the dominant group. This encouraged patriarchal systems within the society where loyalty as well as courage entailed the main commitments. The men were to observe loyalty toward their lords while women were to direct their loyalty to respective husbands alongside the family (Kincaid, 2013).
Matriarchal characteristic was also a vital attribute within the Japan society during this period. Women enjoyed some freedoms in the Heian system of life while also in the feudal systems they were with significant roles for instance they could inherit assets. The Confucian philosophies brought restrictions upon women roles such that they became subordinate to the men. During the period of swordsmanship, women were removed from the feudal system and given the peripheral role. The Confucian structures that were dominant in China gave women the role of giving birth to children along with helping execute family issues thus this system showed a puritanical tendency. These systems even in the present world are still in place within the rural regions of Japan (Kincaid, 2013).
China is not an exception in the diminishing women roles during the traditional days as in the imperial period, the Confucian instructions ruled all the aspects of the family and order within the families was directed by these principles. This system placed the men as the head of a family who would execute any duties without any consultation. All people within a particular family were minor in that the eldest man ruled the family. The hierarchical systems were significant in the definition of relationships within the family for instance between a father along with his children as well as a wife or concubines with the husband (Johnson, 2009).
According to Abraham (2011), rights as well as privileges for women within the Chinese society were minimal and they were made to look like slaves or even prostitutes. Women lived a life full of oppressions due to their inferior characteristic. Various rituals supported the unequal roles within the life cycle starting from birth, marriage as well as in death. Women were made voiceless due to the role of matchmakers who approved marriages without any consent or consultations with the heads of the families taking the lead role. Education was not considered as a right to a Chinese girl and if a must they were to learn from their fathers. Foot binding was a practice that lowered the dignity of women even though at that time it was considered as a rite of passage to beauty (Abraham, 2011).
The status of a woman was determined after birth where sons were given priority within the family structures. The males were considered more significant not only physically but also as the economic pillars of a family. The boy children were renowned as carriers of family names from present to the future generations. Girls were regarded as minute happiness as after marriage they would have joined other families. This diminishing role was also practiced in family feeding behaviors where girls were fed last while the newborns were smothered mostly during famines or in times of war even though these circumstances were rare (Abraham, 2011).
Before the end of the Second World War, populations within Japan were living in extended families of not less than three generations. The hierarchical order was strictly followed while parent’s authority was strictly observed. Marriage within the society was not based on any religious backgrounds or mutual love of partners but through relationships of social or economic nature. The woman was seen as a lesser persons and objects to continue the family generation. The woman after marriage was under the guidance of the mother in law and her roles were restricted to only within the home such that they could hardly participate in religious functions (Kincaid, 2013).
As depicted from all the countries women were voiceless within the society during the ancient days. Social structures were placed to diminish women roles within the society making them to look like slaves. The principle roles of women in both countries were around family matters with an obligation for reproduction and taking care of the family. Women were such oppressed that they lacked motivation and could only abide by the principles as measures to punish those who go against them were in place.
Transition of Roles
Gender roles took a new outlook starting from the Second World War both in China as well in Japan. In China towards the end of twentieth century, family units underwent radical changes within filial piety as well as on the position of women within the society. Communist Revolution was a system that encouraged the destruction different restrictions within the society including old habits, culture, customs as well as ideas that seemed oppressive to women. Various mechanisms were used in ensuring the success in alleviating Confucian system for instance posters were erected while meetings were held to eradicate this negative thoughts (O’Sullivan, 2012).
The 1950 change of marriage laws in China was a good starting point to empowering women as it granted women many powers including choice for divorce while outlawing other practices like forced marriages. The Communist party during its rule in China made a huge step forward by encouraging the women to join the ruling of the country and enhancing their numbers into the workforce. After population explosion in the country when the ruling party had supported women giving birth to many children, burdens were placed on women when the sinle child policy was introduced as they were to strictly adhere to it. Advancing technology in health for instance, ultrasound increased the problems, as males were more preferred while the female were even aborted leading to a gap between the boy and girl child population (Abraham, 2011).
The Second World War shows a variety of shifting in roles of women within the society of Japan. During this period, women’s roles were established into patriotism where they were required to have children as well as be managers of the nation with their roles being to work within arms industries, coalmines and steel mills. With husbands having headed for war, women took the lead role of the family with their roles to workforce increasing. At this time though chaste was to be maintained while the women started realizing their significance in the society (Kincaid, 2013).
Towards the end of the war, transformations had taken place within the country with great destructions being experienced for instance raids and bombings that injured and killed many people. Many of the towns were leveled while large populations were left in the cold causing disillusions about their military. The feudalistic family structures were diminished after Americans brought reforms to the country through rewriting the constitution and introducing new social structures that encouraged cohesion (Mackie, 2002).
MacArthur is an example a woman who fought for women to gain their identity in Japan. She advocated for equity for both sexes within the education systems as well as the field of employment. In 1947 there were major changes within the governance and policies where regulations for equity were set for instance within salary payments and working hours while maternity as well as holiday leaves were provided for women. Since then, women have been involved in advocating for their rights and their roles are apparent within their attitudes towards the family unit. They have shifted from thinking within group units into individualistic way in solving family and other issues affecting them (Kincaid, 2013).
Present Day Roles
Reforms within the economic sector of China within the past thirty years have brought a great change within the country’s social sector. Women are still facing challenges as employment opportunities they were being given by the country ruling system was withdrawn. Women are seeking livelihood activities within the urban areas while rural urban migration is prohibited. Due the policy of having one child girls are presently getting mare attention being provided with the best education as well as having a share in the families properties (O’Sullivan, 2012).
The empowerment of girl child in China has created equal attention to both sexes as they now enjoy equal opportunities. There are competitions between boys and girls in acquiring education along with employment opportunities. Marriage systems have been restructured where early marriages are prohibited while consultations are done before reaching an agreement. Inheritance chances are granted to women and they enjoy a bigger role in family matters. Presently females are the heads of various families and they have dependants who look upon them for provision of needs (O’Sullivan, 2012).
In Japan, the role of women developed subsequent to the closing stages of the Second World War. The promulgation of a new constitution in 1946 was a huge step forward as it encouraged equity and prohibited discrimination of any way. The civil code improved women’s status within the society thus women presently enjoy equal status with men. Equity principles have encouraged a rising status of women in the society but the traditional role has remained constant where the woman is still the mother as well as the keeper of home (Mackie, 2002).
Present women in Japan enjoy more opportunities as compared to the old days. Similar to in China, women in Japan enjoy equal attention akin to their male counterparts for instance equal chances in education and job openings. The main challenge that women face in Japan currently is sacrificing their time in their role of reproduction. After marriage, they are required to put their determination and sacrifice in the process of upbringing of children (Mackie, 2002). They are required to perform their household roles to a stage where the children reach university age before they regain employment status. This sacrifice has lowered the status of women in the employment field as they become less competitive to their male counterparts (Afshar, 2005).
Mackie (2002) argues that even though there are guidelines within the employment sector, women in Japan are continuing to suffer, as the policies are not being implemented. The labor laws are not being implemented by many organizations that are implementing their policies against the set requirements. This shows that women are still being oppressed even with the evolution and advocacy for equity. Women in Japan are yet to enjoy their freedom from social oppression, as there are still instances of discrimination.
In China, there are also minor instances of discrimination of women but most women enjoy liberation as they are currently being confronted with respect while their entitlements are enhanced. Political rights within China are enhanced in that women have the right for participation in any political events while regulations for gradual increase of women representatives in the government is shaping women’s roles into a bright future. Political aspects have taken the role in determining the roles of women in China as changes are implemented according to political needs. The family has remained the fundamental unit within the society while the vital role of women as mothers as well as wives has not changed. It is eminent that the current generation is seeking a new identity in the society that will place them equal or even on top of men (Afshar, 2005).
According to 北村優子(2008), Japanese women are more educated in contrast to other countries even though their role in employment has not advanced. Women are being employed to offer secretarial services and other minor roles in the company. The structures within organizations have prevented them from being career oriented. The tax systems are even in support of the old elements as it encourages men as providers within the family while women remain housekeepers. Husbands are allowed to obtain tax deductions if their wives are not working or are earning below the minimum wage of the country. It is regarded that single women play a lesser role within the economy of the country as more than 50% women who are employed are married. A larger percentage of women are however lacking employment entries while their jobs are recognized as part-time though they work for a full-time basis (北村優子, 2008).
In both countries, there is a great advancement within the roles of women. We see women taking the responsibility and demanding for their rights. Even though systems for equity are in place both in China and in Japan, women are not getting the right share, as the policies are not being implemented. There are instances where social settings are defining the role of women hence some women mostly from the rural areas are discriminated. Equal opportunities are available in both settings but accessing them has been a hurdle as social injustices for instance corruption are still eminent. Structures are needed where governments support women empowerment through adequate implementation of their strategies that support gender equity.
It is encouraging to know on how empowerment of women has evolved to a place where they enjoy equal rights and opportunities with men. Even though nice policies are put within both Japan and China, without proper structures the systems are doomed to fail and return to the old oppressive days. Proper systems need to be put in place for the implementation of these policies especially in Japan to ensure women realize their dreams in life. Advocacy is still needed so that equity can be maintained within all sexes. Women should continue being empowered and encouraged to take the leader posts so that they acknowledge their roles in the present world.
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