Compare and contrast the role of women in Australia and China Today, Australia and China are two of the main countries in all over the world and women account great proportion to the population in these two countries. In ancient time, both Australia and China existed discrimination which against women and limited their life-chances. With the social progress and equalization, this discrimination disappears gradually and women’s role in Australia and China seem more important than before. However, there are still some differences between the women’s role in Australia and China. This essay will compare and contrast the role of these women in the areas of, history of absence of gender discrimination, different views of a family and child raising, females’ employment environment and women’s role in politics. Australia has earlier absence of gender discrimination and higher degree of respect for women than China due to the different country establishment history. Unlike Australia, a British colonial country, China has nearly 5000 years of history of feudal autocracy and it is extremely difficult to eliminate the feudal thought of ‘male superiority to female’. One of the most important developments in Australia during the twentieth century was the gradual movement of women toward full citizenship through social, economic and political changes.(National Museum of Australia,2012) In contract, it is not until 1949 that China began with the reform and opening-up policy and women were liberated since that time. Although China had experienced 64-year democracy and freedom, some feudal thoughts still remain in some remote areas such as Guangxi, Shandong and Hainan.(China People’s Daily,2011) Other areas of difference between Australian women and Chinese women are their views about forming a family and raising kids. Although the role of Chinese women in China has improved, most of the Chinese women hold the ideas that they have to give up their jobs and become full-time housewives in order to take care of their child by heart and soul. The main reason for this is not only because of the one-child policy but also because of the ancient feudal ideas about observing purdah. That is to say that most Chinese man still expect women to cook after home and family more or less single-handed, whether or not they are holding down a job, which makes women’s life more harder if they keep the jobs. What’s more, it is also different from Australia that women should not marry a man without their parents’ agreement or they will be treated as not in accordance with filial.
It is easy to find a evidence in the beginning of last century that if the man was very keen or family tradition dictated it, the girls had to leave junior middle school to be married. ( Xin, 2002) On the contrary, Australian women seem more open in marriage and reproduction. According to the divorce statistic in 2011, divorce rates in Australia was 2.52%??which ranked the seventh in all over the world, while China only reached 0.79%?.(Nation Master,2013) To some extent, female’s employment environment can reflect their social status and degree of social respect for women. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, gender roles in most of the western world were restricted and options for women few and stark-usually marriage or work as a domestic or teacher. Yet in the fluidity of colonial Australian society some women carved out profitable and successful careers?though not perhaps conventional ones—for example Caroline Hodgson, aka Mme Brussels, the proprietor of Melbourne’s most exclusive brothels.(Kay, 2011) It shows that Australian women already choose to work since nineteenth century while Chinese women were first allowed to work formally after the initial period of establishment of China. The jobs such as, teacher, nursery, white-collar worker and secretary are favored by most of the women in both Australia and China. But the education in China lags behind that of in Australia so some women without education background in China have to do cheap labor jobs to support their life and even some girls are forced to work illegally. ‘In order to rush an order through in as little as seven days, from the time of its placement, my working sisters and I are forced to work non-stop for 48 hours’, said by a girl in a Chinese factory with a rush job(Geraldine,2007). It is also a phenomenon that some poor women immigrant illegally to some developed countries like Australia to earn more money. Hence, Australian women have better job role in society with greater wages and welfares. It is believed that women play more important role in politics in both Australia and China in modern society. However, the degree of women’s political status in China not as high as that of in Australia. A good example to illustrates it is Julia Eileen Gillard, the former Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the Labor Party from 2010 to 2013, was the first women minister in Australia. The appearance of the first female prime minister means the great changes in women’s role for politics in Australia. In Australia, women have taken up the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and have entered government, overcoming a range of obstacles.(Centenary article,2001) At the same time, the possibility for a Chinese woman to become a minister seems extremely small.