Start Gender Education from the Beginning

Posted January 8, 2012 from China

Start Gender Education from the Beginning ——reflection about family education in China

“Father and mother were fighting and quarrelling, I was kneeling on the ground and holding one’s calf and crying.” closing my eyes, and when I recall my childhood, this scene often surfaces in front of me. I was born in a common family. My father and my mother married not because of love,but the desire of changing the poor life.

In the Culture Revolution (1966-1976),my maternal grandfather was nearly buried alive because he was military police of Kuomintang who escaped to Taiwan after 1949 when the People’ s Republic of China was found. He stayed in mainland because of the family. My Grandfather was shot after 1949 who served as a local governor in a small town in Hunan-----a province in south China. My parents leave a tough live during their teenage. In 1976, my 20 years old mother married my 37 years old father because she wanted to leave the small village to Jiangxi where my father was working. A marriage without love usual is a tragedy. My childhood was accompanied with unending fighting and quarrelling. Due to the birth control, my mother ligates after giving birth of two girls, but my father wanted to have a son. Maybe that is the reason why I was raised as a “fake boy”. I was bareheaded three times because of louse. I climbed the tree and caught the fish with boys. I did not care about my clothes because I always wear my sisters’.

At that time, just like my family, many families were found not because of love and have no idea what is family education. They raise children by the traditional way and bring then up for heir or for pension. So, domestic violence against children often took place. I am so luck to have a nice mother who never beat me when I was child.

Forced to livelihoods, my parents had to send me back to hometown to my maternal grandmother when I was 1 year old. And that time many children were grow up away from parents in China. Now the quantity is rising up: almost 58,000.000 “left-Behind” children, who live in village but their parents work in city. Although the babies apart from parents in the early time will have mental problem more often, parents at that time even now thought the little baby knew few things and did not think it is a big deal. In the past, mothers in charge of raise babies and fathers earn money.

When I went into middle school, my parents went to another city to do business, and I lived with my sister who is 2 years old than me. We had to take care of ourselves in most time. From that time, we have little time live with my parents because we go to university.

In the university, I felt frustrated because I do not know how to wear beautiful and make-up which skills many girls already grasped. “Like a boy” some times look like a positive valuation sometimes not. I became think about how girl should like ,why there exist the deference between girls and boys and is the reality is reasonable?

I can not find the answer from my mother because we stay together for a little time. Then I turn to books. I start to know feminism!This is the prescription what I found. From “The second sex” to “The Feminine Mystique”, I read a lot books about feminism in my collage and was called by classmate as “feminist”!

I want to make my effort. I thought it is important to speak out the situation of women and make people including men and women reflect reality at the first. When I went into graduate school, I take part in the drama performance “The Vagina Monologues” in the university and am a producer of one year, that time the crews first performed outside our school.

Until now I became a mother, I realize that no matter good or bad, unconscious family education shaped me and the different world between child and adult make me thought the issue of gender.

Today I became a mother, however I feel total confused about how to educate my son what I know is how my parents raised us.

But I knew their way is not good choice. I turn to books again. The more books I read, the deep questions I found about family education in China including myself.

For example, one day, my son cried because I did not meet his requirements. I blurted out:” Boys can not cry.” Suddenly I realized that this answer is improper. I asked myself why men should not cry easily. Does it mean that women can cry easily? This words that blurted out of my mouth is right or not? If I keep saying this words toward my son, how influence it will gives to him?……

This kind of words I can hear from Chinese parents often:” You must be hygiene because you are a girl.” Boy should be brave.” “Girl should not be so wild. “Girl should be diligent in housework”……

This word makes girls and boys different. My husband was grown in a traditional family. My mother-in-law is a diligent housewife and often does the housework alone. Now, when my husband comes back, he is like to watch TV or read newspaper but not cook or do housework. Due to the family influence, he thinks housework including raising baby is the duty of women. It makes me very tied often because I have to go back to career after I finished my maternity leave, not like my mother-in-law who did not work.

After 1949, Chairman Mao said:” Women can hold the half heaven”. The new government liberated the women from family. Now in China, most women go to work. However, the liberation is not complete. Women did not liberate from the traditional concept of family. In one sense, today’s women are more tired than traditional women, because they have to make balance between career and family.

As a survey show that the women’s happiness low down after they have baby. In the past, women need not go out for work, so they can handle the housework, now the situation is changing, most women go out to work, but the traditional Concept does not change a lot.

So how can we make change? It is hard to change the concept of adult, but it is easy to shape the child’s view of the world. When we repeat the education way just as our parents, then we repeat gender concept of the old world. But the reality is not so optimism.

As a famous newspaper name “Beijing Youth” reported: In China, there are 60 millions parents admitted that their family education is failure and were confused about how to educate children. “Now, almost all the careers in the world need appointment card,however, I was wondered that parents is the most hard and complex career,why it did not need any appointment card? That is not strange that many children has problems,the reason is their parents operating without a license.” Sun YunXiao,The editor of “Family education instructor training materials” said. He is a famous family educator in China.

Fortunately, 2007, a new career named family education instructor are approved in China, more and more people want to pursue this career. Now there are only 20 thousands people who attend this training. Most of them are who involved in education career. As reported, in the developed countries, every five hundred families have a family instructor. According to this proportion, 600 thousands family education instructors will be needed.

Even though more and more people realize the importance of family education, but few of them realize the importance of gender equal concept in family education.

In Taiwan, "Gender Equity Education White Paper” issued by Ministry of Education suggest that the government should Integrate “Gender Equity Law” and “Family Education Law” and give budget to the gender education of family education. The centre and local government should organize the lessons to empower the gender awareness and ability.

“In Dec 2. 2011, Education and gender equality in education and family teaching picture books” This is a lecture advertising of Taiwan Yilan County mansion Elementary School. This kind of activities is common in Taiwan, but not common in mainland of China.

Obviously, today’s Taiwan is the way we should advance: Start Gender Education from the Beginning.

What a tough week for write this assignment.How happy when I finish the draft. Thank you for your advice.

Comments 2

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  • Ifesinachi Sam-Emuwa
    Jan 08, 2012
    Jan 08, 2012

    Nice one redsbird, and beautifully written. I think you should use more statistics for your nut graph.

    CHEERS and best of luck.


  • Rachael Maddock-Hughes
    Jan 09, 2012
    Jan 09, 2012

    I LOVED reading your draft Redsbird. This is a great example of a frontline journal and I look forward to reading your final assignment.

    Keep up the great work!