Left Behind? The Status of Women in Contemporary China

R. Walker, Jane Millar

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The status of women in China has deteriorated markedly since 2006 relative to other countries, according to the World
Economic Forum Gender Gap Index. Taking a longer view, the position of women has greatly improved since the founding
of the People’s Republic of China but, after the ‘opening up’ of the economy, the logic of the market and the legacy of
patriarchy have worked to the detriment of women. After briefly reviewing trends in China’s economic, demographic and
social development, this editorial follows the structure of the thematic issue in focusing on the processes which may have
caused women to slip behind. Socio-economic and political factors are considered first before focusing on the impact of
unprecedently large scale migration. The circumstances and experiences of women ‘left outside’ mainstream society are
explored next before reflecting on the lives of women left behind in poverty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Inclusion
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2020


  • China
  • Economic development
  • Employment
  • Family
  • Gender
  • Marketisation
  • Migration
  • Patriarchy
  • Poverty
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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