chapter  5
10 Pages

The Implications of Contract Agriculture for the Employment and Status of Chinese Peasant Women

WithDelia Davin

This chapter presents a gloomy view of the prospects for rural women in China. There has been an enormous amount of debate in China on the implications of the rural reforms. Critics seem to have regarded them as contrary to the interests of socialism and the collective. Under the collective system women worked on the land alongside peasants from other families, sometimes in women's work-teams, sometimes in mixed ones. Even under the collective system, the household head controlled the shared household budget and the income earned by individual household members was paid by the collective to him. Rising incomes mean that more is now owned in the form of better housing and furnishings but income is also increasingly being invested in quite important means of production both for agriculture and sidelines. Wealthy households can invest in power pumps, wells, vehicles, agricultural machinery, animals, looms, and sewing-machines.