Full Episode: China makes progress in protecting women's rights
By Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Women's Rights are a worldwide challenge, and rightly so, because women have traditionally and universally been assessed and treated as inferior to men.
China, traditionally, has been no exception. In the early years of the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong famously proclaimed, "Women hold up half the sky.”
But old ways change slowly, especially in rural areas, and Chinese women have continued to struggle to achieve gender equality. As women play greater roles in Chinese society, the protection of their rights and interests have become more prominent.
To assess the problems, and the progress, we check an especially vulnerable group: Rural Women, and we focus on one sensitive issue: land rights.
Gender inequality has been so entrenched in the world, and so ubiquitous, that it can seem normal.
Impediments to gender equality worldwide remain: geographic and cultural barriers, insufficient lawmaking efforts, economic backwardness.
China has made progress: cultivating rule of law, improving judicial systems, establishing consistent and fair practices for promoting gender equality.
To investigate, we picked a sore spot: land rights of rural women.
Institutionally, People's Congresses are passing new laws; for example, in 2018, the revised law on contracting rural land stipulates that each household member has equal access to benefits from contracting land and women's rights to contracting and operating land should be guaranteed.
In education, the illiteracy rate of females aged over 15 dropped from 90% before 1949 to 7.3% in 2017.
But challenges remain, including standardization of practices in such a vast, imbalanced country.
Moreover, in politics, while the number of women is increasing, the higher the political rank, the fewer the number of women.