Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chinese Women and the Not-So-Simple Choices They Have

To go to college or university or not, if they can afford to; to move where good opportunities are, establish a career and a comfortable life, and become independent; to marry and start a family at a young age – these are the not-so-simple choices that today’s Chinese women face.

Perhaps life was, indeed, much simpler for them back in the days when they didn’t have much freedom of choice, if they had any at all; those times when their life was not theirs to control, when decisions were made for them. Yes, their life was a lot simpler then.

As life would have it, the more choices you have, the more complicated your life becomes. This is what today’s Chinese women have come to realize. On the upside, they also enjoy more freedom and independence nowadays. If only their choices were still not chained to so many traditional expectations, then life would not be doubly complicated.

It can be said that it is these traditional expectations that continue to ensure that Chinese women do not “go too far” with their freedom and independence. In effect, they have not really broken free of their chains; they were just given much longer ones.

If they had the means to do so, should they attend college/university and, perhaps, even get a master’s degree and then a Ph.D.? This will definitely open up more doors of career opportunities for them. For the majority of Chinese women, the key that opens that college/university door for them is often forged by their parents’ hard work.

Of course, they are expected to “return the investment” that their parents made, and given that their society made college/education more accessible to more people, they are also expected to “give back” to society.

There is nothing wrong with these expectations; but the fact that Chinese women are also expected to stick to traditional gender roles make things unfairly complicated.

Having decided to get a college/university degree, should they pursue a career and work hard to become successful? The simple answer would be “Yes.” In fact, countless Chinese women have taken advantage of opportunities to get higher education, with the goal of finding a good job, and perhaps even establish a very successful career. Their choice is not just borne out of their personal ambition; it is also borne out of their sense of obligation to their parents and society.

They don’t mind supporting their parents at all; in fact, they take pride in the fact that they are able to do this all on their own.Many become so successful financially that they are also able to enjoy certain comforts and luxuries, and have their parents set for life. Being successful also means they become productive members of their society.

So they have fulfilled their obligations, right? If only things were that simple for these women.

On the one hand, they are expected to excel in school, get a well-paying job, secure the future of their parents, and contribute to the society’s economy. On the other hand, they are also expected to follow traditional ways and get married by a certain age and have children. Doing so will also be in fulfillment of their parents’ wishes and their filial piety, as much as it is in fulfillment of their gender roles in society – which has become even more important now given the high ratio between the male and female populations.

Realistically speaking, Chinese women have the ability to fulfill both modern and traditional expectations. Unfortunately, the society in which they live in is not realistic with its demands.

Attending college/university and establishing a career takes time; but it’s time they don’t really have if they are also expected to marry and have children by a certain age. It is not even a question of whether Chinese women want a family life or the life of a career woman because having both is possible. The problem is their society forces them to choose only one while, at the same time, expecting them to do both.

Given these conflicting traditional and modern expectations, it does seem like the only really simple choice they have is to keep living the restricted life Chinese women used to have. Unquestionably, they are a lot better off now, and that is exactly what the purpose of these new choices that are available to them should be – for them to be better off. In a lot of ways, they are, despite the fact that none of their choices are ever simple.

Things have already started to get better for them; and from the looks of things, they are only bound to get better still. Discover tons of great information about Chinese women and Chinese dating on the blogs, magazine and forum of ChinaLoveMatch.net (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.

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