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Lonely travelers not alone

China had made “Men and Women are equal” a political commitment right after its founding and that had later become a manifesto in our first constitution in 1954 and in other various laws and regulations, vowing to protect the rights of women and children. In fact, China was among the earliest achievers in international community to recognize women’s status and rights, and has actively participated in many international treaties serving that purpose. However, the early achievements had not served as a head start for China, and we had made little progress on gender equality over the past decades.

Apart from the deeply rooted traditions as a male-dominating society, an important reason keeping China from mainstreaming gender equality is that few Chinese women are in full awareness of their unequal status and even fewer have the will and power to change the status quo. As far as I’m concerned, the core to this problem may come down to what I just praised about in paragraph one----a nominal achievement without a fight, thus rendering Chinese women with neither right-consciousness nor inner drive to speak out for themselves.

If you have ever tried package tours and travelling on your own, you would know how big a difference there is between the two. On package tours, you get service and support, at an expense of course. You may be satisfied with the travel arrangements in general, but you also have to endure shopping visits that offset your desire to spend more time at important attractions. But going on the road alone is all about making your own choices. You need to have your own idea about where to go, how to get there and what you wanna do. You have all the control over your journey, yet the hardest part is being able to take control over all the decisions you have to make and this all comes down to having you being very self conscious about your needs.

The situation for women and their rights in China is similar to a package tour. We have long enjoyed the service of our government, who seemed to have spoken for us, but obviously from males’ standpoint. For this reason, Chinese women hardly had the chance and the urge to think about what we really want or were we really taken care of. In short, Chinese women as a group have lost their soul and voice. This is obvious in almost all decision-making levels, with female representation hardly reach 15%, whereas the minimal requirement is 30% by UN standard in order to effectively include women’s needs in the decision-making process.

But with more women receiving higher education, some of them start to have a clear view of the dire situation of female in our society, and they are trying to make a change. However, this is by no means easy, with the larger majority of their own kind consider them being unconventional, unfeminine and even crazy, while in effect, the “teasers” are the numbed and silenced, from deep within.

Being an avid lonely traveler myself, I’m definitely one of the “laughed-ats” in this cause. Knowing it could be a formidable task, I still made advocating gender equality in China and around the world my life vision, because I feel passionate about it and it’s the right thing to do. Yes, simple as that----the right thing to do. My appetite for justice made me choose law as my major in college, even though I’m not practicing, for it’s never my intention to waste it in the lucrative IPO departments in law firms. But passion alone is far from enough, as my power alone stands no chance with the strong resistance from an entire society. Joining VOF on the other hand will likely produce a different scenario. It’s like an incubator for women’s empowerment movement and women leaders. I can absorb power and know-how from this “gigantic battery” tailor made for me and thousands of like-minded women around world.

Despite that we all seem to be travelling alone on this trying journey, VOF connects us together and guides us to pave a way only traveled by us! By joining forces, we’re sure to bring home THE CHANGE!

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

Aysha Ibrahim's picture

thumbs up

great i like the way you relate it to package tour this article is reflecting your creativity and your passion for work. wonderfully written. keep going and bring change we all are with you.

Chrisitina's picture

Thx Aysha. I will keep up and

Thx Aysha. I will keep up and following up!

Where there is a WILL, there is a WAY.

William's picture

Packaged tours

Dear Christina, thank you for sharing your article. How did you get access to the Internet to send it to World Pulse? Do you still live in China? I loved your article, the first I've read coming from China. You have quite a task before you if you intend to awaken the whole female portion of your countries population. I'd love to hear more about how you see yourself accomplishing this in view of the Chinese Government beliefs. Be cautious, keep us posted. Best of luck to you.
blessings,
William

Chrisitina's picture

Hi William, thank u for ur

Hi William, thank u for ur comment. But i guess u would probably refresh ur knowledge abt China. We do have Internet here and yes we can post through the internet. We just cant get on facebook or twitter or... anything thats google provided. Actually our gov has putting a lot of efforts in protecting womens rights. But its just that traditions of womens place being in the house and being a liiittle bit inferior to men is deeply rooted. And i dont think the state has done enough in educating people from an early age to respect women as equals to men. And this is mostly because tbe decision makers are mostly men and they fail to see this in womens shoes. So its like a systematic work we r facing and its not going to change overnight. Im doing this partly for personal interest in the subject and partly to raise peoples awareness. Hope more sisters in my country will join me and make a difference.

Where there is a WILL, there is a WAY.

William's picture

Developing women's rights

Hi Christina, thank you for your response. I am deeply committed to women in all developing cultures. Even here in the U.S. women struggle for equal pay, getting elected to higher political positions or, as you mention, getting a job after being educated, over a male. I am truly thankful that you can use the Internet, as it is the door to the future. I regularly correspond with women all over the globe and we all benefit from these communications. Again, may I urge you to be careful and get some other women in China interested in forming a group to see about "advancing women's rights?" I've been waiting to hear back from you. Each morning I pray for you and women all over the world. Blessings,
William

Activechica's picture

Wise words for all women

Chrisitina,

Thank you for your excellent journal writing. The analogy with travel is a powerful one that is applicable to everyone who has ever been complacent or not been able to stand up and reach their full potential. You are wise to notice that even with education, equality is not guaranteed. It is a critical first step, but then one needs to find a place to continue growing and flourishing outside the school yard.

I look forward to hearing more from you -- You are a breath of fresh air in China and beyond.
Warmest wishes,
Leslie

Chrisitina's picture

Leslie, Thank you for your

Leslie,

Thank you for your comments and i apologize for this late reply, cuz i had been on a alone journey in UK for about 20 days. I really enjoyed my trip not only because the scenery is spectacular, it also opened my eyes to a very different society where I believe women are more liberated than those in my own country. It was definitely an educational experience! I really hope the more i travel, the more i could take from what i've experienced and learned into my endeavor in women's empowerment and that definitely includes great advice and suggestions from people like you!

Look forward to more of your insights, and best wishes!

Christina

Where there is a WILL, there is a WAY.

jeannettemsager's picture

Vision

Christina,

I am inspired by your passionate vision and insight, and by your inclination to think so critically about the status of gender equality in China. Perhaps those situations which are less noticeable can be the most damaging and insidious because, as you pointed out, many women who are disadvantaged by them don't even notice. (I loved your metaphor of the package tour -- that is a great way to describe the hidden subtleties of this inequality.) It is courageous to know you will not be supported even by other women and still pursue your cause. I applaud you and look forward to all that you write in the future, and I thank you for sharing.

More power to you, girl! No matter how isolated you feel sometimes, you have a world of women in this community backing you up. All the best to you!

Jeannette

Chrisitina's picture

Jeannette, Thank you very

Jeannette,

Thank you very much for your firm support! I'm especially pleased to know that you and other distant readers resonate with my ideas and writing, which really helps empower myself from the inside. I noticed that a lot of countries and NGOs have made tackling violence against women and children a pressing problem. Not that I don't agree with them, cuz I really do. But I also want people to take notice of the social institutions that inflict less visible yet no less violence on women and children. Such institutions are sometimes the root causes for those visible violence against women and children and if we can help change those institutions for the better, we may be able to solve many of the present problems from a different angle. Well, it's just my personal view and i'm open to all insightful idea :-)

Cheers,
Christina

Where there is a WILL, there is a WAY.

Hello Christina,

Thank you for writing and sharing this great post. It sparkles with your own fresh thinking and images. You've raised an important point that I don't see many people commenting on, namely, how easy it is for comprehensive social change to be delayed by small changes around the edges. I think it is very context dependent whether such incremental approaches are appropriate and realistic (the best we can do) or counterproductive (a deadly compromise). My own work in women's health has led me to often wonder what is the most effective path in pushing for women's equity; generally I think it pays to be vocal about the deepseated nature of the challenge to have women be equally valued.

Thank you for giving me a little window of insight into the complexities of these challenges for women in China.

Like many other readers, I found your analogy of the package vs independent travel quite apt, but all the same I hope you are finding a community of people that you can travel with. Certainly you have the distant but genuine support of people like me.

best wishes,
Anais

Chrisitina's picture

Anais, Thanks for your

Anais,

Thanks for your encouragement and comments. I do have my own thinking about the current situations faced by women in my society, yet it's not without limitations. Here, we have limited opportunities to take part in real life practices of women's empowerment and NGOs are not very well thrived. Personally, I also want to have first-hand experiences in helping disadvanged women and other groups so that I could gain more convincing facts and their real needs to better my ideas. But it seems a little bit difficult in general. Therefore, I'd be grateful if you and people like you could offer more stories and insights on such experiences. And i believe this is what this World Pulse Community is for, to help all of us to learn from each other and improve together!

Kind regards,
Christina

Where there is a WILL, there is a WAY.

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