Connect
To Top
 

China’s One-Child Policy 40 Years Later: How Women are Still Suffering

In 1976, the Chinese government sought to solve its rapid population growth problem with the one-child policy, a restriction that limited families to having just one child. Now, almost 50 years later, women and young girls in the country are still the primary residents affected by its implementation.

One Child Nation is a documentary from Chinese filmmakers Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, two women who grew up when the one-child policy was first strictly implemented. The film focuses on the more personal effects the policy had on families, including young girls like Wang who were shamed solely for their gender. Chinese officials called it a socioeconomic success for the country, but Wang refers to it as a “war on individuals.” 

The documentary examines the psychological impacts of the policy on Chinese residents. It reveals just how heavily propaganda played into the government’s narrative of “family planning,” and how it influenced potential parents to subconsciously favor boys over girls. 

Preference for baby boys still exists, and is most common in  rural parts of the country. Boys are expected to ensure economic stability and to continue family legacies. The evidence of this preference is obvious in the country’s high rate of female infancticide, or the killing of baby girls. Hundreds of thousands of baby girls have been carelessly abandoned by their parents, and they are typically referred to as “China’s Missing Daughters.

The one-child policy also had a significant impact on mothers. Women were often kidnapped and forced to undergo late abortions and sterilizations when found out to be pregnant by the Chinese government. After having a child, they were discouraged from having more by being stripped of their financial resources. According to survey results from a Chinese job recruitment agency, 33 percent of women suffered a pay cut after having a child and 36 percent were demoted. If mothers were discovered with more than one child, they were forced to pay a fine roughly five times more than the average family’s salary. If unable to pay, they would be forced out of their homes.

The policy has led to a largely skewed gender ratio. According to recent census data, there is a 300 million surplus of males in China, contributing to the most extreme shortage of women since World War I. That surplus accounts for the country’s increased crime rate, with violent crimes most often committed by young unmarried men. Additionally, the growing demand for wives for these young men has led to an increase in human trafficking and trade. This directly affects the women in neighboring countries

Although the policy expanded to two children per family a few years ago, generations of women in China will continue to be affected by this restriction.

Featured Image V.T. Polywoda on Flickr

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Be Informed

  • Naomi Osaka Advocates for Racial Justice

    Learn about how star tennis player, Naomi Osaka, shows her social activism and support to racial justice on the court.

    Lydia SchapiroSeptember 16, 2020
  • Sustainability at Home

    Cultivating sustainability in the home is easier than you think! Learn about the easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly....

    Lydia SchapiroAugust 27, 2020
  • How Will College Change in the Fall?

    Keep reading to learn about the question marks surrounding the coming semester.

    Lydia SchapiroAugust 26, 2020
  • Egypt Making Strides Toward Equality

    Egypt took a step further in the direction of women’s rights a few days ago, approving a law that would protect...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 21, 2020
  • Black Mothers: The Risk of Giving Birth

    Serena Williams was not the first black woman to be ignored by her doctor post-partum. Black mothers consistently balance the joy...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 14, 2020
  • No More Bumps: 5 Steps to Smooth Skin

    Ladies, it’s hard to feel nice and smooth after shaving when ingrown hairs and bumps immediately take the spotlight. However, not...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 13, 2020
  • Healthy Social Media Use

    Social media presence has increased for decades, remaining incredibly prevalent in everyday life. Cultivate healthy habits by learning about the effects...

    Lydia SchapiroAugust 12, 2020
  • No Woman was Surprised by What Happened to AOC

    A few weeks ago, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was insulted by Representative Ted Yoho being called a “f—ing bitch” and “dangerous.” Afterwards,...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 12, 2020
  • The Meaning Behind #ChallengeAccepted

    Recently, a trend has surfaced on Instagram where women nominate one another privately to post a black and white picture of...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 11, 2020
  • Why Anti-feminism can be Fatal

    Recently, New Jersey Federal Judge Esther Salas and her family were attacked resulting in the loss of her son and injury...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 7, 2020