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Press officer: once 'women with bound feet' now 'upholding half the sky' in China


(Ask the Embassy)

Megan, from Hatfield, Tshwane writes:

We South Africans are going to celebrate National Women's Day this Wednesday(9 August). Do you have a Women's Day in China?


Press Officer:

Happy Women's Day, Megan. We share the joy as our South African sisters commemorate 9 August 1956 when brave women participating in a national march petitioned against pass laws. The remarkable achievements South Africa has made in building a non-sexist society are very impressive.


In China we celebrate the International Women's Day on 8 March every year. Though not a national public holiday, that day is truly a big day for Chinese women and their fellow country men. Colorful events are held for celebration around that day all across the country. And just as what an important occasion it is here in South Africa, the Women's Day always reminds us of the hardships Chinese women have endured in the long march towards their deserved equal rights.

Women in China had a bitter story to tell. Being at the bottom of society in olden days, they were forced to obey their fathers before marriage, their husbands after marriage and their sons if they became widowed. For centuries, the overwhelming majority of them were even forced to bind their feet from childhood and 'women with bound feet' was their name.


Gone were the hard days for Chinese women when new China was founded in 1949. It has been a basic state policy to promote gender equality and tremendous progress has been made ever since. Nowadays, once the 'women with bound feet' enjoy equal rights with men in terms of politics, economy, culture, and social and family life. They have been considered as being able to uphold half the sky, which means women are as essential as men in China.


The Women's Day also reminds us, Megan, of the reality that the lofty cause of gender equality struggle in China and around the world is yet to be contnued. We Chinese are highly committed to making our contribution.


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