ISSN 2330-717X

Why Does China Need Feminism? – OpEd

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Since 2021, feminism in China has been a hot issue. Today, Chinese women have faced discrimination in the workplace, politics stages, and even at home. Samuel Yang form his report underlined due to those injustice, a feminist demonstrated to Chinese government. Responding to the demonstration, the Chinese government used crackdowns that made the movement retreat.  

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This response has been unprecedented. According to the definition of feminism, they just attempt to make a voices for injustice and inequality in social, especially for women. They also attempt to struggle for emancipation to get gender equality between women and men. Regard the hard condition of Feminism in China, Jia Guo, a Chinese Women,”[Feminist activists] have organised a lot of offline activities, such as ‘Occupy Men’s Toilets’ and ‘Bloody Brides Against Domestic Violence’, but they have also been greatly suppressed, I personally think that the voice of feminists is getting louder and louder, and more and more people are paying attention — whether they agree or disagree, no matter what point of view they hold.”

To express its voices, Feminist uses a social media as a key channel in modern era. Social media (Weibo) was an important way for women to express their views on family and relationships, and to advocate for their rights, especially as many social movements are still forbidden in China. But, President Xi does not allow it. In 2021, terms like “feminism” and “MeToo” are considered sensitive and are subject to online censorship. Earlier this year, Beijing began ramping up its efforts to stamp out feminist voices in the country. Dozens of feminist accounts have been abruptly shut down on popular social media sites like Weibo and Douban. Li Maizi, 32, a prominent feminist living in Beijing, was among those targeted. Her Weibo account was suspended in late April.

Furthermore, responding the suspended, the Chinese government argued feminist was not from China instead it is the West’s theory. President Xi has embraced an increasingly nationalistic stance. In early 2021, China’s Education Ministry published plans to “cultivate masculinity” in boys from kindergarten through high school. The initiative involves hiring and training more gym teachers, testing students more comprehensively in physical education, making health education compulsory and supporting research into issues like the “influence of the phenomenon of internet celebrities on adolescents’ values.”

This policy was not really prominent. Lu Pin, a Feminist of Feminist Voices said, “Boys don’t need masculinity education” She added, “The concept of masculinity forces every man to be tough, which excludes and harms men with other types of characteristics,” she said. “It also reinforces men’s hegemony, control and position over women, which goes against gender equality.”

Besides, China is facing various challenges that are impacting its social equality and economic growth. Hence, accepting feminism as a new concept that can use in its social and participation women for economy is the answer. China must learn from several countries where they have formed their country to make steady. The economic growth and high China’s GDP are not enough for China. Thus China must pursue a decline in social inequality and imbalances between men and women. 

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As reported by Human Development, in 2019, China ranked 85th on the Gender Inequality Index (GII) worth 0.168. This point focused on reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market. When compared to Australia, it was ranked 8th. The Australian Government has used feminist to make a stability in social. In 2019-20, two-thirds of women (67.6%) and more than three-quarters of men (78.1%) aged 20–74 years old participated in the labor force. The 2019-20 rate is the highest for women during the past 10 years. 

Gender equality concept of Feminism has also offered to increase its economic growth. Even if China is one of the biggest economic holders after the United States, it is not guaranteed, China has a welfare for its people. Learning from Norway, according to the S&P Global, Norway’s economy grew by 8 percent by participating women in economic aspects. 

In sum, China must speaks about Human Right if they talked about restriction on feminism. The concept feminism will help China to decrease its equality because women will help a men to work together and to decline a gender violence. 

*M Habib Pashya, is a Researcher at the Center of Indonesia-China Studies

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