Cite this

Social Issues: Women and Divorce in China Research Paper


Introduction

Divorce has been on the rise in China for the last decade. According to Walton (2014, p. 280), the increasing affluence of many families and westernization of the Chinese culture has reduced stigma that was always associated with divorce. In the past, women divorcees were stigmatized as per the traditional culture of the people in this country.

They were considered a disgrace not only to their parents but also their entire society. It was a sign that such a woman was not taught about family life. Getting a second chance to marry men of their dreams with such a negative reputation would not be easy. However, this stigma has been eliminated, and most of the divorces which happen in this country are initiated by women.

According to Kaplan and Langdon (2012, p. 21), there are over 10,000 families in China who go to the Supreme Court daily to get a divorce. Over 70 percent of these cases are initiated by women who mostly cite infidelity as their main reason for the divorce. This research seeks to confirm that women in China have been empowered and can now divorce their husbands without being stigmatized.

Laws on Divorce

Chinese tradition formed the basis of the marriage law in this country. For a long time, women have viewed a subordinate to men in this society. They were expected to respect their husbands, and any woman who rose complains about the fidelity of their husbands was considered uncultured. Men had the full command of their marriages, and they would make all the crucial decisions concerning their marriage.

On the other hand, women were only expected to care about giving birth, taking care of the children, and their husbands (Chen 2012, 845). This is what was reflected in the marriage law in this country. However, the law of divorce has been reviewed severally as the society comes to accept that woman also have a right enjoyed by men.

The law of this land allows any of the two partners to initiate the divorce process in the Supreme Court. In the past, the law required the partner initiating the divorce process to give a convincing reason why he or she wants the divorce. The law demanded that in case the reason given was not good enough, then the divorce would not be granted.

However, this law was reviewed by several panels, and currently, the law on divorce has been made very flexible. The partners are now allowed to divorce as long as they have irreconcilable differences. There are cases where the partners may be sent to tribunals to try and settle their differences in case this is acceptable to both parties.

However, when either of the parties rejects the idea of seeking the services of the marriage tribunals to discuss the difference, the case may be brought before the court. The judge is expected to make a judgment on the case, and the biggest issue that they are expected to address is on how to plan for the wealth of the family.

Cultural Attitudes

According to Yao (2014, p. 11), a cultural attitude towards divorce in the past was the main reason why many families remained intact. In a country where culture favors men over women, there was a general expectation that women were supposed to withstand any marital abuses as long as their lives were not under threat.

Men were the heads of families, and culturally, it was not considered an issue if they were unfaithful to their wives. Divorce was the last thing that a woman would consider because of the stigmatization she would be subjected to by society (Ryan 2003, p. 96).

The parents of a woman who was a divorcee would be ridiculed because they never taught their daughter about the need to stay in marriage whether or not she was happy about it. The friends of such a woman would try to dissociate themselves from her for fear of being labeled accomplices of such outcasts.

This negative cultural attitude towards woman divorcee is slowly changing as society gets more educated. The number of middle class in this country is on the rise, and this affluence is redefining the culture of the society. China is home to the largest number of people in the middle class.

The Western culture has also influenced this society massively as people come to appreciate that both men and women have the right to remain happy and to make choices in their marriages.

The society has accepted the fact that woman has the right to divorce their partners when there is a moral ground to do this. The stigma that existed before is no longer there, and woman who have divorced their husbands. Although Fincher (2013, p. 40) argues that the stigma still exists, the current rate of divorce shows otherwise.

Effects on Children

According to Yao (2014, p. 8), divorce has a serious negative impact on children, especially if it happens when they are very young. Both the mother and the father play an important role in the normal development of a child. While the child looks up to the mother to offer comfort, the father is always the symbol of security within a family. In schools, children feel proud when they have the support of both parents. At teenage, both boys and girls will need both parents to understand how they can relate to society (Kuhn 2011, p. 58).

Absence of any of the parents always affects the normal development of teenagers into adults. When parents divorce, children are always subjected to a life without the full support of both parents. Although the parents have the right to care for their children even after divorce, the moral right to direct these children on how to manage these families is always gone.

According to the research by Ross (2010, p. 348), children always undergo serious emotional torture when they realize that their parents have irreconcilable differences. They are torn between the two parents, not knowing who to support in such scenarios. Some may need serious counseling to overcome this effect.

Legal Aspect of Children

The law allows both parents custodianship of the children in case of a divorce. According to Walton (2014, p. 274), the law allows both the mother and the father to find a working formula on how to take care of the children until they become adults. The law favors cases where children who are below the age of five years are to stay with the mother. The mother knows how to handle the infants better than the father, especially the suckling kids.

For children who are above five years, the law allows both parents to decide who stay with the child. However, in case one partner has a good reason why the other partner should not be allowed to stay with the child, such as cases of drunkenness, physical or emotional abuse on children, or any other legally valid reason, then the partner will be allowed full guardianship of the children (Hinsch 2002, p. 45).

There are also cases where the child is asked to choose who it wants to stay with in order to ensure that it is comfortable after the divorce. Irrespective of whoever takes the guardianship of the children, the law requires both parents to participate in providing for them till they reach the age of majority.

Economic Aspect

According to Fincher (2013, p. 39), although China is experiencing a break-up boom that is initiated by women, it is men who always come out as winners when it comes to economic aspect. The law states that in case of such break-ups, the residence shall remain with the person who is legally recognized as the owner. This society is patriarchal, and therefore, even in cases where both partners contributed equally to the purchase of the property, it is the man who will be registered as the owner.

There are also cases where the woman would finance the purchase of such property, but consider registering the names of their husbands as to the legal owners. The law will consider the man as the sole owner, and the woman will be expected to look for an alternative residence away from the original home.

According to Yao (2014, p. 5), many women would be left in economic woes, especially if they do not have steady sources of income. This explains why many women are always reluctant to consider divorce as an option in case of disagreements within their families.

Divorce Control within the Last 50 Years

Chinese society highly valued families and women were considered to be complete when they were with their husband. Single women would be accepted in case their husbands had met untimely deaths. Divorce was a taboo word, especially among women. According to Kaplan and Langdon (2012, p. 20), women were expected to make compromises in their marriage to make it work in their marriages. The society was intolerant of women who were divorced.

Till 1964, the rates of divorce were rare. China remained closed to the outside world until the late 1990s, and the rates of divorce were rare. Things started changing in the twenty-first century when the stigmatization of divorcee women stated changing. Within the last ten years, there has been a drastic increase in the number of cases of divorce.

According to Walton (2014, p. 265), China recorded 3.1 million divorces in the year 2012. Hou (2014, p. 65) says, “Urbanites in their 20s and 30s “lack the patience to adapt to each other or make the necessary compromises, so their marriages are often in a fragile state.” It is currently estimated that there are 10,000 divorces taking place in China every day.

Conclusion

It is clear from the discussion above that the rate of divorce in China is on the rise. With about 10,000 divorces being registered in this country in a day, this country experiences the highest rates of divorce in the world. This is a clear indication that divorced women are no longer stigmatized in the current Chinese society.

List of References

Chen, W 2012, The Changing Pattern of Educational Differentials in Divorce in the Context of Gender Egalitarianization, Population Research and Policy Review, vol. 31. no. 6, pp. 831-853

Fincher, H 2013, ‘Women’s rights at Risk’, Dissent, vol. 60. no. 2, pp. 36-40, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

Hinsch, B 2002, Women in early imperial China, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham.

Hou, X, 2014, ‘Dissecting China’s Rise: Controversies over the China Model’, China Perspectives, vol. 5. no. 2, pp. 61-67, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

Kaplan, S & Langdon, S 2012, ‘Chinese fandom and potential marketing strategies for expanding the market for American professional sports into China’, International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, vol. 5. no. 11, pp. 7-21, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

Kuhn, R 2011, How China’s leaders think: The inside story of China’s past, current, and future leaders, John Wiley & Sons, Singapore.

Ross, K 2010, ‘An army of bachelors? China’s Male Population as a World Threat’, Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, vol. 1. no. 2, pp. 338-363, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

Ryan, J 2003, Chinese women and the global village: An Australian site, University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia.

Walton, J 2014, ‘Old time religion in new China: Alternative movements in the post-Mao era’, Cross Currents, vol. 64. no. 2, pp. 262-281, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

Yao, W 2014, ‘The New Middle Kingdom: The Symbolic Power of the Confucius Institute’s Pedagogical Approach’, China Media Research, vol. 10. no. 1, pp. 4-12, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

Notes

Chen, W 2012, The Changing Pattern of Educational Differentials in Divorce in the Context of Gender Egalitarianization, Population Research and Policy Review, vol. 31. no. 6, pp. 831-853

  • The perception of women as weak partners in marriage is changing because the are increasingly getting empowered through education
  • Gender-based discrimination has been eliminated in China and other neighboring countries.

Fincher, H 2013, ‘Women’s rights at Risk’, Dissent, vol. 60. no. 2, pp. 36-40, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

  • The society is yet to consider women as equal partners in marriage.
  • Court rulings in China still favour men in many ways

Hinsch, B 2002, Women in early imperial China, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham.

  • Women as caretakers and bearers of children
  • Women as subordinate to men in a marriage context

Hou, X, 2014, ‘Dissecting China’s Rise: Controversies over the China Model’, China Perspectives, vol. 5. No. 2, pp. 61-67, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

  • Cases of divorce in China are at all time high
  • Women are becoming more intolerant to mistreatment in families

Kaplan, S & Langdon, S 2012, ‘Chinese fandom and potential marketing strategies for expanding the market for American professional sports into China’, International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, vol. 5. no. 11, pp. 7-21, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

  • China’s emerging rising middle class
  • The increasing economic role of women in China’s economy

Kuhn, R 2011, How China’s leaders think: The inside story of China’s past, current, and future leaders, John Wiley & Sons, Singapore.

  • The Chinese male chauvinist leadership
  • The struggle of women to gain political power

Ross, K 2010, ‘An army of bachelors? China’s Male Population as a World Threat’, Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, vol. 1. No. 2, pp. 338-363, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

  • Increasing number of divorce cases in China
  • Most of the divorce cases are initiated by women.

Ryan, J 2003, Chinese women and the global village: An Australian site, University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia.

  • The level of education among Chinese women is on the rise
  • The Chinese society is open to the global world

Walton, J 2014, ‘Old time religion in new China: Alternative movements in the post-Mao era’, Cross Currents, vol. 64. No. 2, pp. 262-281, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

  • The changing culture in China
  • Exposure of Chinese women to the Western culture

Yao, W 2014, ‘The New Middle Kingdom: The Symbolic Power of the Confucius Institute’s Pedagogical Approach’, China Media Research, vol. 10. no. 1, pp. 4-12, viewed 7 October 2014, via EbscoHost Academic Search Premier.

  • China as an emerging world economy.
  • The changing social structure of Chinese families

This Research Paper on Social Issues: Women and Divorce in China was written and submitted by user BoomBoom to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:

Reference

BoomBoom. (2019, September 6). Social Issues: Women and Divorce in China [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-issues-women-and-divorce-in-china/

Work Cited

BoomBoom. "Social Issues: Women and Divorce in China." IvyPanda, 6 Sept. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/social-issues-women-and-divorce-in-china/.

1. BoomBoom. "Social Issues: Women and Divorce in China." IvyPanda (blog), September 6, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-issues-women-and-divorce-in-china/.


Bibliography


BoomBoom. "Social Issues: Women and Divorce in China." IvyPanda (blog), September 6, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-issues-women-and-divorce-in-china/.

References

BoomBoom. 2019. "Social Issues: Women and Divorce in China." IvyPanda (blog), September 6, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-issues-women-and-divorce-in-china/.

References

BoomBoom. (2019) 'Social Issues: Women and Divorce in China'. IvyPanda, 6 September.

More Sociology Paper Examples