Societal perceptions about women and their roles in the community exhibit different characteristics across regions and countries in the world. Social aspects of life such as religion and education and economic factors like jobs have greater contributions to the success and development of the female gender (Giuliano, 2017). Remarkable economic variables such as the women’s education, development level, fertility and marriage or divorce, and the expansion of the service provision areas have been studied to establish the background of the practices. As some communities appreciate the distinction between men and women based on capacitation such as masculinity and femineity, some do not recognize the variation and they say that every human creature has equal potential (Best & Puzio, 2019). The split raises more discussions as to whether men and women are the same and equal and should have similar cultural roles. The debate remains cultural and is transmitted from one generation to the other considering the observed social strengths, weaknesses, and roles of each group in different communities.
It is essential to establish a cultural perspective of the gender role based on the trending features and abilities of both men and women in society. Getting the basis for the classification of gender roles would require past literature on labor participation, marriage, education, and fertility among other forms of cultural norms, and compare them with what is witnessed today in respective societies (Best & Puzio, 2019). A cultural relative position concerning this discussion is essential in affirming the designated roles. Social psychology and personality development among males and females will be key as deciding factors in the gender debate as they describe and focus on how the two classes of people view themselves in society. The discussion vents into the gender roles in the Chinese culture by digging into the origin of the present practice and relating it with the current trends.
The cultural relative perspective created from the culture in China is important in understanding the origin of some of its traces noticed in society today. Also, it gives a foundation for appreciating the milestone achieved in society by considering the past practices. Making comparisons with past experiences enables scholars and even society to appreciate the steps they have made in transforming some of their practices. The study would be important in answering daily institutional, and social questions regarding women’s participation and responsibility in the Asian Nation. Additionally, the study would be a pointer to the current and next generations by enabling them to link with their past for a better future of an inclusive society free of bias and discrimination on any gender.
Gender Role in China
The gendered culture in China has a deep history in the Asian ancient practices. Traditional practices in the Asian continent spread across the different countries with a particular interest in China. The nation enjoys a rich history of masculine principles that relied on male empowerment at the expense of women in the community (Kennedy & Smith, 2020). The Chinese family and social hierarchy failed to recognize women alongside their influences and activities in the community. Women were viewed as temporary members of their respective families whose functions, roles, and powers were disregarded in the order of rule (Kennedy & Smith, 2020). The pecking order amongst families consisted of the father, son, elder brother, and younger brother with no room for women in every social unit. The females were left without powers and authority (Kennedy & Smith, 2020). Moreover, upon marriage, the daughters were expected to leave their parent’s homes and to unite with their husband’s families. The new setup was to be their culture and practices without an option to change or question the trend.
Influence of Chinese Culture on Women
The Chinese culture influenced the education system by denying women the opportunity to access education. Formal education was a preserve for the males in the society where the females were left to do menial jobs for their families (Kennedy & Smith, 2020). Illustratively, the culture created females as a caregiver at family levels. The women were left to give rise and nurture babies and perform household chores while maintaining homes. Parental perceptions about the women and their roles contributed to the practice where most parents believed and subscribed to the cultural prescription. Most parents were made to believe that the boys were more able than girls and they were accorded priority on education and other important social matters (Kennedy & Smith, 2020). The result of such discrimination was more male enrolment for higher education and first considerations for job opportunities. The women lagged in the academic front and were not fit for the job market that demanded academic credentials.
However, with modernization, women were slowly recognized and their absorption for the academic system enhanced. Colleges and universities set an example by offering opportunities to female learners over men to attain numbers (Kennedy & Smith, 2020). Most parents embraced the change of culture and encouraged their girls to acquire education. The parents believed in the capacitation of both genders where they considered girls to have stronger dedication for education than boys who had better attitudes due to longer exposure to the culture (Kennedy & Smith, 2020). The historical curriculum became a motivating factor among girls who aspired to outsmart males in academic fronts and other opportunities that would follow. Furthermore, the intake for females in higher learning centers increased to pass that of boys. Consequently, job opportunities became a competition for both boys and girls since they all had necessary qualifications that job companies would demand.
The integration of cultural values in the Chines education system has enhanced and empowered women. The number of women applying for different positions in the job industry has risen while others in other social and political circles (Kennedy & Smith, 2020). The women have managed to break the societal chain that confined their participation in community and economic activities. Education has offered them the requisite power and experience to compete for opportunities alongside men who in most cases have fallen behind women (Tekke et al., 2020). Other than university and college entries, the overall women’s involvement in social activities has increased because they have been woken up and their thinking reshaped. The roles that were once left for boys such as security to parents at old age are no longer classified on gender lines but on economic muscles that are today evenly distributed between the two forces. The change of system has been beneficial to every sector and class of persons in Chinese society.
Parallels from the Chinese Culture with our Culture
Levinson & Pollock (2016) discuss the anthropologist perspective of Chinese education culture and other practices related to social education such as job security as that which was anciently influenced by the Confucian culture. Confucius was influential in establishing the traditional Chinese education system that only revolved around the male characters in society. The culture formed a path that was adopted by the government and other important institutions besides failing to be an organized religion across the Eastern Asian region. Just as Tekke et al. (2020) describe the Turkish culture, Chinese practices also valued male involvement and full participation in educational programs to the expense of women. Marrying was a major setback to the women whose families considered would be beneficial to the husband’s family. Adding value to the girls was regarded as a spread of benefit to another boundary. The strange belief bankrolled the women’s capacity for a long time before the changes that set them for a competitive society.
The strange cultural practice in China can be compared to the ancient agricultural policies and beliefs in our culture. Traditionally, some farming activities were preserved for the male. Jobs like digging using the hand plow were left for the men without special reasons for the restrictions (Giuliano, 2017). The use of plowing tools was not allowed for the women due to the physical fitness required to operate it. Women were generally considered weaker before men and the plow demanded excessive use of energy. Furthermore, women were the primary child-care givers and the use of the simple tool was more draining which could not be fit for women with babies. Since the plow required more upward energy, women especially the pregnant and those who were breastfeeding were excluded from the tool to protect them from power drainage. Therefore, our culture permitted them to stay indoors during such occasions to prepare meals and look after the homesteads while men went out to the farms daily during farming seasons.
The practice in our society is similar to the Chinese practices in the past. Despite modernization that has introduced farming methods and machinery that incorporate the knowledge, skills, and strength of women today, the two cultures rhyme in the aspect of inclusivity. The same way the Chinese confined women to home chores is the reciprocate of what is in our culture. Men provided for the family in ancient China which is a similar pattern in our culture and in each case women guard homes, prepare meals and fend for children when men are away either in fields or in school as in the Chinese culture. Moreover, the changes that transformed gender participation in jobs and education in China have been witnessed in our culture through the industrial revolution that has introduced farm mechanization (Giuliano, 2017). The machines introduced such as tractors do not require energy as was in the ancient ages but skills that are in every person in the community irrespective of gender.
The Chinese traditional culture and the changes experienced in stages that shifted women’s participation in society is a reflection of what happens across different communities in the world. Every community has its distinct practice with deep origins that define a trend and which can be used for some important reference for studies or daily experiences. Similarly, the use of plows in our community has a relationship with the Chinese culture as they all give some theoretical direction and importance of specific practices besides explaining hidden evolutions. The two cultural areas share an educative and informative platform as they pass generational knowledge. The cultural implications of each practice are a written source of information transferable to the future offspring who might need such discussions.
Best, D. L., & Puzio, A. R. (2019). Gender and culture.
Erdal, M. B., & Pawlak, M. (2018). Reproducing, transforming, and contesting gender relations and identities through migration and transnational ties. Gender, Place & Culture, 25(6), 882-898.
Giuliano, P. (2017). Gender: An historical perspective.
Kennedy, Y., & Smith, A. (2020). How Culture Influences Gender Roles and Expectations in Chinese Culture. Educational Practices in China, Korea, and the United States: Reflections from a Study Abroad Experience, 1.
Levinson, B. A., & Pollock, M. (Eds.). (2016). A Companion to the Anthropology of Education. John Wiley & Sons.
Tekke, M., Ghani, F. A., & Kassim, R. M. (2020, February). Evaluation of gender roles in Turkish society: Cultural impact on education perspective. In 3rd International Conference on Research of Educational Administration and Management (ICREAM 2019) (pp. 245-248). Atlantis Press.