Women's Rights In China And India

Submitted By colean
Words: 735
Pages: 3

Throughout the post-classical period women’s rights generally spiraled downward over time. Similarities in both China and India regarding women’s place in society, politics, family, religion, and the work force can be found in this specific time period. China is prominently known for its patriarchy in the majority of Chinese history, with some exceptions. Specifically in the beginning of the Tang dynasty, (618ce-907ce) women exercised more freedom of their rights, including greater influence in management of property, the arts, and politics than women later on in China. However, this society was still Confucian, where women were at the bottom of the social hierarchy, and it was considered to be of the utmost importance for a woman to be obedient to all men before anything else. In 960, the Song Empire was founded, and the role of women continued to decrease. This is when foot binding was first introduced into Chinese culture, becoming a widely recognized symbol of men’s superiority over women. Although foot binding was masqueraded as a sign of women’s social standing and beauty, it actually represented a woman’s weakness and dependence on men. Since foot binding prevented proper foot growth, a woman always needed a man to help her walk, and with great pain. Heading towards the end of the Song dynasty, and the beginning of the Yuan dynasty, women’s rights continued to fluctuate, and started to gain momentum. Around 1000ce women had a prominent role in all facets of economics. In Turkic areas of central and inner Asia, women were heads of households, owned property, and managed businesses. Continuing on to the Yuan dynasty, neoconfucianism put a great emphasis on knowledge and education for men. The civil service exams were especially prominent at this time, but only men were allowed to take them. This meant only men could rule, eventually abolishing any major women’s roles in politics.
In the beginning of the post-classical period in India, the Gupta Empire ruled, and men were dominant. During this time women were only educated in the arts, and not in religion, therefore they could not read the sacred texts. Because this was a non-agricultural middle class society and women were no longer used for farming and tending to the house, they lost status. Women now could not own property, and were subject to the will of men at any given time. This was similar to situation regarding women’s rights in the Yuan dynasty of China. They were seen as equal to the lowest class, the Shudra. Along with this mentality, women were married off at a young age, so that the husbands could “shape” the girl into the type of wife they wanted. In some areas of India a widow was expected to cremate herself on her husbands funeral pyre, for she was considered worthless without him. This practice was called sati, and was seen as a way of keeping a woman pure. If a woman