Most people, even women themselves, believe that women in China have achieved equality. They think women now "have held up half the sky." They can take up almost all the professions once only occupied by men, and can even receive equal pay for equal work. Despite the enormous strides women have made,I argue that Chinese women still have a long way to go in their struggle for real equality in every field of the society.
Needless to say, attitudes are more difficult to change than laws. In principle, women's liberation or equality is no longer a problem, and women are entitled to compete with men for jobs on equal terms. But in practice, women are still thought of as in ferior that cannot take up responsible jobs. Cases of sexual discrimination are often heard of. The situation is even worse now when the market oriented economy is adopted and personal abilities, both physical and intellectual, are increasingly stressed. No longer can the government influence the employment policies of enterprises, which are now in favor of male applicants. On the job market, many companies and factories are unwilling to employ girl graduates because they don't want to spend time and money training them while taking the risk of their leaving to have children after they get married. When employment rate drops,women workers are usually the first to be laid off. In Shanghai,for example, many female workers merely over forty are forced to return home or retire. They account for nearly 90 percent of the people out of work. Even if they are allowed to continue to work until the legal age for retirement, their chances of promotion are much more slim than their male counterparts. Even in the government, despite its commitment to women's equality,women have progressed slowly in gaining access to political power. There is no woman among the seven members of the Standing Committee in the Political Bureau, no woman in the governmental ministerial positions. Doubts as to women's capability are deeply rooted in Chinese culture.To be honest, in my opinion, women are no less competent than men. But the double burden they have to carry inside and outside home renders it impossible for them to make full use of their knowledge and talents. Much of their energy is spent bandling the conflicting demands of career and family. Even if they hold leadership positions, they are still expected to do most of the household chores. This leaves them less time than men for their duties at work. Tortured by self-fulfillment and family responsibility, Chinese women are always taught to sacrifice themselves.
The picture of women's liberty is not quite that rosy. Paid maternity leave or few cases of female leadership mean nothing.The resistance to treat women as equals of men is profound and stubborn so that equality continues to be the long term goal of Chinese women.