chapter  8
47 Pages

Chinese women and the post-Mao economic reforms

ByGale Summerfield

With the birth of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Communist Party stated its intention of assuring equality for women. Paid employment was viewed as the means of achieving this goal and most policies regarding women sought to increase their employment. During the next few years, women entered the workforce rapidly, their number increasing from approximately 600,000 in 1949 to over 8 million by 1959 (Davin 1976). By 1982, the workforce participation rate of women was 70 per cent, one of the highest in the world (Foreign Broadcast Information Service 1988c: 34-5).