Gender Inequality In Chinese Women

1892 Words 8 Pages
Gender is always a controversial topic when anthropologists and sociologists talk about inequality. For most of the female immigrants, who came to the United States pursuing American Dreams and brighter future for their family, the first but not last challenge they needed to overcome may be gender conflicts while integrating into a society. Yinyi Zhong, a 41 years old Chinese woman who immigrated to California with her family in 2012, challenged the gender role of traditional Chinese value but faced the dilemma of balancing her social identity between a Chinese and an American. Her experience as a Chinese immigrant woman in the United States demonstrated Takaki’s concept of twice a minority and the transition of challenging her gender role, …show more content…
Being female, an immigrant, and a person of color conferred the least advantage upon workers in the U.S. labor market. (Strum & Tarantolo, 2002: 88) Yinyi was influenced by the traditional Chinese values (in which women should stay at home after they got married) and had been self-employed for 14 years before she came to America. Since it was impossible for a middle-class Chinese immigrant to start up a business without understanding any English, Yinyi had to look for low-skill jobs. Like most of the newcomers, Yinyi put her target in Chinatown for her first job. Women immigrants were limited to a narrow range of activities in typically poorly paid and insecure environments. (Strum & Tarantolo, 2002: 88) Because of her gender image of being a weak and vulnerable woman, Yinyi was rejected by four employers before she was able to get the job as a cashier in a gift shop. Although the employer was reluctant to pay more than minimum wage in Chinatown, many women like Yinyi filled low-prestige jobs because they understood that those might be the only job they could choose. By self-knowledge of their disadvantaged situation, Chinese female immigrants transform the institution of allowing employers to pay lower wages (Cheung, 25) Chinese women were …show more content…
After living in San Francisco for 2 years, Yinyi began to adapt to different kinds of western culture and had the intention of negotiating American culture. At the same times, she continued to maintain and practice her traditional Chinese habits as a part of her daily routine. For example, she used knives and fork when she had dinner in restaurants but accustomed to the use of chopsticks while eating with her family at home; she introduced herself as Eva when interacting with native-born Americans but reacted faster when someone called her Yinyi in the street; She was invited to a party to celebrate Christmas by her neighbor but found out that the Chinese Spring Festival was more attractive to her. Although she wanted to be assimilated by the American cultures, she found the manifest barriers between her friends and herself; she felt like an outsider. The process of learning western culture was a process of collectivity that might influence their identity shift (Zhang, 2008: 8). While many of the Chinese immigrants chose their working environment that corresponded to their own culture, they lost the opportunity to experience cultural variations between east and west. In fact, many immigrant women worked in low-prestige jobs such

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