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Gender and Family in Contemporary China

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionXie, Yu. 2013. "Gender and Family in Contemporary China." PSC Research Report No. 13-808. October 2013.

Both gender relations and family structures have undergone tremendous changes since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. This article reviews the recent literature on gender and family in contemporary China, focusing on social changes. As a whole, research has shown both radical departures from, as well as a continuation of, traditional practices concerning gender relations and the family. Examples of departures include women's significant improvement in socioeconomic status relative to that of men, rises in premarital cohabitation and divorce, and elderly no longer depending on sons for old-age support. Examples of continued traditions include wife's primary housework role, social hypergamy, multi-generational coresidence, and substantial son-preference. In recent years, rapid economic development and the associated high consumption aspirations have exerted economic pressures on young persons entering marriage.

Country of focus: China.

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