Female Chinese Communist Leaders and the Question of Gender Equality

Open Access
Bosley, Marlana E
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Kate Merkel-Hess, Thesis Supervisor
  • Nicolai Volland, Honors Advisor
  • China
  • Chinese
  • CCP
  • PRC
  • Communism
  • Feminsim
  • Mandarin
The purpose of this thesis is to illuminate the tensions between women's liberation and class warfare through the perspectives of several prominent female leaders in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and also to push further to attempt to provide insight into how these women themselves reconciled these tensions. It has generally been argued that the discrepancy between the reality of gender equality and the policy goals of the CCP were due to prioritization of party agenda and the avoidance of alienating poor rural men who served the party’s base. Traditionally, it is argued that this is what estranged female CCP members. Therefore, women within the party, it is often assumed, were in direct opposition to this prioritization. However, while this is a factor, my research demonstrates that this relationship was much more nuanced than is often presented. In fact, many female members decided to remain within the party and supported its goals despite gender equality being consistently compromised. To ignore this reality and the decisions many women within the CCP made would silence their voices and paint an over-simplified picture of their experiences. Each of the women discussed in this thesis reconciled gender equality with their own decisions in different ways. This thesis works to illuminate the nuanced relationships each of these women had with the tensions of CCP feminism