Legal Rights Of Chinese Women In The 17th Century Ming Dynasty

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The legal rights of Chinese women remain almost nonexistent during the 14th to 17th century Ming Dynasty rule, however, modern day China is controlled by a government working to achieve equality for both genders. Throughout the 276 years that the Ming Dynasty was controlling China, a plethora of achievements in the areas of education, philosophy, literature, and art changed Chinese society. However, these changes affected mainly males because women were treated as nothing. For instance, the main function of a Chinese couple was to produce a son and raise him to be loyal to the state. Additionally, marriage was arranged, and based solely on social and economic statuses, not love. During this time, men were the ones with total control over the …show more content…
This was especially apparent if the wife was unable to produce a male. Furthermore, if her husband died, a woman was unable to remarry. This is because she would have to remain loyal to her husband for the rest of her life. Throughout ancient China and continuing into the Ming Dynasty, a woman’s only role was to complete household tasks, and she was not allowed to make an income for herself or her family. Women were also very illiterate because education was more of a priority for men than for women. China was governed by the symbol of yin and yang, which represented the way that males and females complimented each other. The yin symbolized females, darkness, weakness and passiveness. The yang exemplified males, brightness, strength and activeness. It was said that “while male and female were both necessary and complementary, one was by nature passive toward the other.” The emperors of the Ming Dynasty did not do anything to change the social statuses of women in the family or in public life. However, a mixture of change and oppression for women was brought about during the rise of the Qing Dynasty, which governed China from …show more content…
For example, areas under the control of the Taiping gave Chinese women permission to take civil service exams and to perform in military service. This was an extremely different view from the previous belief that women have no place outside of the home. The Taiping brought great change to the idea of marriage as well. It was said that “the idea that marriage and the family should be abolished, with women treated not just equally, but exactly the same as men.” During this time, women were becoming more active socially because of the changes being made politically. Women were active in the 1898 Chinese reforms, which promoted the ideas of Western culture and values. Moving into present day China, officially named the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the country is governed by Communism. This new form of government promised the people that they would inhabit gender equality throughout the country. One of the government’s initial priorities was to abolish arranged marriages. Today, the legal marriage age in China for men is 22, and for women is 20. Modern China also grants primary education for girls, and 98.5 percent of all girls are enrolled in

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