Gender Ideology in China

by Mari Sunagawa

Most people accept the conservative gender ideology automatically. It is common for the women to do housework. Not only in family but also in the society, the women are engaged in the job like housework. The jobs such as housekeeper, nanny and teacher in nursery schools are occupied by the women. The men don’t want to do such works so they tend to leave everything of housework to the women. People think that women should do housework even if they work outside. The thought that women don’t work is old ideology. On the other hand, people regard the thought that women should do housework as natural, not old.

In China, the equal employment opportunity law was established in 1949. After that, women who have children started to work outside. The number of the working women had increased. However, in 1980, the quality of housework was regarded as very important thing to grow children up. They said that children must be taught social rules and studies at home.

If the husbands earn enough money to make a living, some of their wives become housewives because they cannot do housework and work in outside. They do not have the way that the husbands do housework. According to the questionnaire in China, the 42,7% Chinese women thought that the men should work and the women should housework. They do not refuse the gender ideology. Nowadays, both parents have to work outside to earn money. This situation produced the new gender ideology. The women must do housework and work in outside. It is difficult to do both works so it is said “Work Family Conflict” by Japanese scholar. Though it is the problem of both parents, the husband connects it with the ability and effort of wife. Few men help women cooking or cleaning clothes. When Chinese government establishes the only child policy, the Chinese hope to have a son, not a daughter. They want him to work hard although the women can work as well as the men.

I noticed some reason why the gender ideology has existed. First, people suppose that the men are more efficient than the women in society so the women had better stay at home. I think that there are physical differences based on sex but the gap of ability between women and men doesn’t exist. Second, the women accept this gender ideology. It helps keeping conservative thoughts. Participating the movements, the women called for jobs and got it. Next step is to tell the men that the housework is not women’s job. The social movements are required to change the mind of people in the world.


Hiromi Ishizuka. 2010. Chugokuroudou no gender bunseki. Keisoushobou

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