Gender in Comparative Perspectives: China and Canada, Research Paper Example
Words: 6050Research Paper
Differences in gender and culture are universal throughout society and support a greater understanding of the issues that influence change and decision-making within these societies. There are many diverse characteristics that support gender-based differences, and for women in particular, there are specific customs, beliefs, values, and perspectives that impact females in different societies. In comparing and contrasting societies, it is important to identify similarities that join them, and to also identify differences that influence daily living. For example, women living in Canada and China experience stark contrasts in their surrounding environments, their levels of freedom, and their ability to achieve success in different areas. Since the customs and values within these countries are so different, it is necessary to address some of these contrasts and to determine how women live and breathe within these two countries under entirely unique circumstances. In addition, women’s rights within these two nations are very different and require an examination of the key principles that govern each society and contribute to current standards. There must be a greater emphasis on the development of new approaches to understand these societies and to identify the root causes of these differences in order to achieve the desired outcomes. Women experience different types of treatment throughout these societies; therefore, these differences pose a challenge in understanding the environments in which they live. The following discussion will address the role of women in two unique countries, Canada and China, in order to effectively determine the different areas where women have evolved, where they remain behind, and where there is room for greater growth and opportunity within a given society. It is expected that women living in these countries possess different rights in some areas; therefore, it is important to identify some of these differences and to determine what is necessary to improve their quality of life and their ability to experience greater rights and freedoms within their respective countries.
Women in Canada
Women in Canada and China face numerous challenges that impact their sense of self and their ability to achieve their desired outcomes, albeit for different reasons. For example, since Canada is an advanced nation in the West, the challenges that women face are often grounded in Western principles and values, such as lack of equal pay in the workforce and gender inequality, despite efforts made to bridge these gaps. To be specific, the Canadian government is steadfast in its commitment to women’s rights, as noted by the following statement: “Canada is committed to the view that gender equality is not only a human rights issue, but is also an essential component of sustainable development, social justice, peace, and security. These goals will only be achieved if women are able to participate as equal partners, decision makers, and beneficiaries of the sustainable development of their societies” (Government of Canada). From this perspective, the Canadian government has been largely supportive of the advancement of women and women’s rights in many different ways, thereby creating an environment in which women are able to work towards their desired goals and objectives. This reflects the importance of women to the nation of Canada and their overall ability to be successful contributors as citizens, visitors, and in supporting the national economy. For this nation, women continue to expand their ability to grow and thrive within the Canadian culture and to also be recognized for their contributions to society, to the workforce, and to the local economy.
For women in Canada, the right to vote was earned on a gradual basis, with some women being granted the right to vote in 1921, but only women who met specific classifications that were determined by the federal government (CBC). For example, “most women of colour – including Chinese women, “Hindu” or East Indian women, Japanese women – weren’t allowed to vote at the provincial and federal level until the late 1940s” (CBC). In addition, different provinces enabled women to vote at different times, including British Columbia and Ontario in 1917 and Quebec in 1940 (Parliament of Canada). Each province governed its own regulations regarding voting and also enabled women to serve as candidates of Parliament at different stages; this reflects the ever-increasing importance and value of women in the 20thCentury to the Canadian people (Parliament of Canada). These factors demonstrate that women faced significant challenges regarding their right to vote in Canada, thereby limiting their ability to be full-fledged citizens of the country with equal rights to their male counterparts. This is an important reminder of the lack of enthusiasm to provide women with equal opportunities, as they were essentially treated as second-class citizens in many ways throughout the nation’s history.
Women in Canada have also experienced other issues related to their gender that have limited their progression throughout the country and its provincial territories. To be specific, there have been significant problems associated with gender-based violence, such as sexual violence, that has been largely instrumental in shaping the limitations of many women throughout the country (UN Women National Committee Canada). At the same time, women have been left out of many peacekeeping missions and have been unable to contribute to a variety of opportunities to improve their lives through public policy and advocacy efforts (UN Women National Committee Canada). As a result, women have been disenfranchised in many ways and have been severely limited as a result of gender, thereby demonstrating a lack of respect and support in many ways (UN Women National Committee Canada). In addition, women do not constitute a significant portion of governance in Canada, as there are limitations on their participation in many ways that prohibit their ability to fully convey their views and perspectives (UN Women National Committee Canada). It is believed that “Women’s political participation is a fundamental prerequisite for gender equality and genuine democracy. It facilitates women’s direct engagement in public decision-making and is a means of ensuring better accountability to women. Political accountability to women begins with increasing the number of women in decision-making positions, but it cannot stop there. What is required are gender-sensitive governance reforms that will make all elected officials more effective at promoting gender equality in public policy and ensuring their implementation” (UN Women National Committee Canada). From this perspective, it may be argued that women in Canada continue to experience greater respect and support within the Canadian government, but that this process remains severely limited in many ways; therefore, the level of progress that has been made is instrumental in shaping how Canadians manage national affairs, and in particular, those that affect women throughout the spectrum.
Women in Canada continue to struggle in many areas and although their opportunities have grown tremendously throughout the past century and beyond, they remain behind their male counterparts in many areas, thereby creating many limitations in their ability to fully experience the benefits and freedoms that males receive. This is an important reminder of the value and significance of women’s rights in Canada and the overall development of new perspectives that will facilitate a marked increase in women’s rights that will continue to flourish throughout the nation. These factors support a greater understanding of how women are treated in Canada and what is required for them to achieve equal respect and support. As mentioned previously, women’s participation in Parliament continues to evolve and requires an examination of the key variables that influence their ability to gain access to these positions (Tremblay 159). It is known that some provinces are more likely to have women in political positions than others, based upon cultural preferences and regional characteristics, among other variables (Tremblay 160). It is believed that “changes of government contribute to bringing more women into the cabinet. It may be that the newly elected leader wishes to distinguish her or his administration from the previous one, or that the presence of a larger number of female legislators and the requirement of representativeness of women in the cabinet exerts pressure in favour of its feminization” (Tremblay 161). From this perspective, it may be argued that women in roles of power and persuasion within the Canadian Parliament have evolved over time due to pressure from different sides of the aisle, including those who seek a more inclusionary and diversified political system (Tremblay 161). Nonetheless, the struggle for women in Canadian politics remains real and requires further examination of the key principles that influence their ability to be successful in gaining traction in positions of power (Tremblay 161). There must be a greater emphasis on the ability of women in these positions to demonstrate their strength of character and to make a difference in the lives of all Canadians.
It is important to develop a greater understanding of the dynamics of women in Canada as a means of recognizing their value and contribution to the nation as a whole. Since Canada is a Western nation, they possess expanded rights and privileges that many women in other parts of the world do not receive and where they are treated poorly and as second-class citizens. In areas such as reproductive rights, for example, there continues to be a significant struggle that interferes with a woman’s ability to experience reproductive freedom, including the right to have an abortion (Wright). This is a challenging set of circumstances that is further exacerbated by limitations in such areas as New Brunswick, whereby principles that govern this province significantly challenge the reproductive rights of women on a regular basis (Wright). Therefore, it is necessary to develop strategies and to recognize the value of understanding the nature of these decisions, why they have been made, and how they might be altered to provide further support and guidance to the women of this province (Wright). There are considerable limitations associated with the reproductive rights of women in some areas of Canada that go against the grain and limit their ability to have reproductive freedom and the choice to do whatever they wish in this regard (Wright). It is important to identify these key challenges and to demonstrate that women in this area and beyond continue to fight for reproductive freedom through expanded activism and other opportunities to support their rights (Wright).
Women in China
For women living in China, there are significant limitations on their rights that influence their daily living in many ways, and these opportunities are not aligned with those of many countries in the Western world. For example, “the rights of women in China are not clearly defined, protected, or promoted. China’s patriarchal traditions have reasserted themselves, obstructing women’s economic human rights, such as the right to land and the right to work. There is a wide gap between the rhetoric of the Chinese government regarding women’s rights and the actual experiences of women” (Fry 41). This reflects the importance of understanding the nature of women’s rights in China and how they are limited in many areas of society, such as in the ability to work full time due to gender discrimination on the basis of marital status and whether or not they have children (Fry 41). These discriminatory acts largely shift the balance of power towards males and further prohibit the ability of women within the country to experience the desired level of freedom and opportunity that are available to many men (Fry 41). It is important to recognize these challenges and to determine where women stand within the Chinese culture and economy. It is clear that women within this nation are largely disrespected and are not provided with the same opportunities as their male counterparts; therefore, these considerations must be addressed further in order to identify the specific disparities that exist throughout the country.
In spite of the limitations that they face, women living in China continue to fight for their rights and have organized different groups in order to demonstrate their commitment to increasing their rights and freedoms throughout the country (Fry 42). Since the Communist regime does not support the rights and freedoms of women, they have faced many difficulties throughout the country, and it appears that the government does not support their abilities and talents to contribute to society and to the economy in a meaningful way (Fry 42). The limitations that Chinese women face continue to evolve, and it has only been in recent years that women have been able to speak out against oppression and discrimination through human rights organizations that support their cause (Fry 42). Nonetheless, the plight of women in China is a significant problem that continues to demonstrate a lack of respect for women throughout the country, as well as the actions of the government that does not appear to be interested in serving the rights of women as equals to men (Fry 42).
A multitude of issues impact women throughout China and demonstrate the importance of understanding their needs and challenges in a more cohesive manner. Rather than witnessing a progression of women’s rights, there is a significant regression that has severely limited the opportunities that are available to women throughout the country and which largely prohibit women’s contributions to society and to the economy. Women are generally treated as second-class citizens and their reproductive rights are decided for them, whereby there is a “government-enforced family planning policy, which includes the use of legal and other coercive measures—such as administrative sanctions, fines, and coercive measures, including forced abortion—to control reproductive choices” (Human Rights Watch). Under these conditions, it is very difficult for women in China to have any say in their own reproductive rights since they are unable to conceive more than one or two children, even if they desire larger families (Human Rights Watch). Therefore, women continue to face numerous challenges that are difficult to overcome and which limit their ability to make their own decisions within the country, due in large part to government influence and cultural dominance.
In many ways, the women of China are at risk of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and discrimination in the workplace, among other consequences, and government influence has not been supportive in managing these situations (Human Rights Watch). On the contrary, the government tends to shy away from addressing these issues and allows these actions to continue at the expense of women across many age groups (Human Rights Watch). Therefore, it is important to develop an understanding of the issues that impact women throughout China and to determine what is required to facilitate an effective response that will enable women to experience the rights and freedoms that they deserve. Unfortunately, this is likely to be a non-issue in a communist regime because the nation does not support the rights of women in the same context as men; therefore, this represents a challenge to women going forward within this country. It is important to recognize how women are treated throughout China and to consider methods of addressing their limited rights and privileges under the complexities of a Communist regime and leadership structure.
Women in China experience limited rights across many areas of society; therefore, it is necessary to evaluate these conditions in greater detail and to examine how to address their freedoms and how they should be entitled to additional rights that go above and beyond what they currently receive. Only recently, the president of China has pledged funds to the United Nations to address issues involving women’s rights and equality for women throughout the world, and particularly for women in developing countries (Fox News). This act may be perceived as one of good will towards the United Nations, but it does not address some of the challenges and limitations that are taking place within China and how it impacts women throughout the country. It is difficult to quantify the impact of this donation when the women within the Chinese president’s own country are largely disrespected and discriminated against in different ways. This reflects the importance of understanding the dynamics of women’s rights in China and whether or not they are being taken as seriously as necessary in order to prove a point and to make a difference in the lives of millions of women throughout the country. There must be a greater emphasis on the development of new perspectives to support the women of China and to recognize from a government-based perspective that women deserve to have equal rights.
There must be a greater emphasis on the development of new perspectives to improve the lives of women and to recognize the value of equal rights in order to achieve the desired outcomes for women in this vast nation. This process will ensure that the women who reside in China are not jailed for actions that aim to protect the rights of women against such actions as sexual violence and sex trafficking (Fox News). Under these conditions, it is necessary to develop a strategy that will encompass the continued growth and development of the human rights process in China in order to promote equal rights, inclusion, and support for women across all age groups that does not involve an infringement upon reproductive rights and freedoms. Women must be able to experience some sense of freedom that will support their needs and which will encourage them to speak out against different types of injustice without the fear of retaliation. This reflects the importance of developing a strategy that will aim to improve the government’s perspective regarding women’s rights and freedoms in China so that they are able to improve their lives over the long term.
Women in China continue to struggle in many ways, which reflects a lack of support and focus on their needs throughout the country. Women face significant issues without any real opportunities for personal or professional growth in China; therefore, they continue to experience obstacles that are difficult to overcome and which convey the importance of developing an environment that has a more positive impact on their lives. It is necessary for women in China to have rights and privileges that will enable them to be free thinkers and to express themselves openly and honestly without experiencing tension or conflicts as a result of these actions. However, these conditions remain elusive to women of the Chinese culture within this Communist nation. There must be a greater emphasis on understanding why women in China experience the treatment that they receive and how it might improve in the future. It is important for the women of China to receive the respect that they deserve and to be recognized for their contributions to society that will support their growth and development, rather than emphasizing a male-dominated society where there is an emphasis on their rights rather than the ability of women to contribute at a high level.
Comparison and Contrast of Women in Canada and China
There are numerous and stark differences between how women are treated in China and Canada, given that one nation is in the West and the other is in the East; however, other issues must also be considered that impact how to respond to the needs of women within these two countries. There are significant differences related to how women are treated across these countries, but there are also similarities in that women are not generally treated with the same level of respect and admiration as men. In a hot topic area such as violence, it is important to note that Canada is far ahead of its Eastern counterpart with respect to addressing domestic violence issues, but that both countries have taken steps to curb some of the violence against women that reflects their overall mistreatment in many ways. To be specific, “The Criminal Code of Canada does not have a specific offence to cover acts of violence against women; rather, such acts are covered by offences such as common assault, assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault and so on. In China, Article 260 of the Criminal Law states: ‘Whoever maltreats a member of his family, if the circumstances are flagrant, shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment’” (Tam, Dawson, Jackson, Kwok, & Thurston 5). Therefore, both nations have defined what they view as acts of violence against women that require legal action, but how they address these acts in regards to punishments are unique and distinct (Tam et.al 5). This reflects a need to further examine the different contexts of how violence against women is observed in both countries from a political perspective, but to also recognize that women must have protections against these acts because they create a negative and often limited perspective regarding their ability to obtain justice when violent acts are taken against them. It is essential that these issues are addressed more closely and that they represent a means of supporting women in a more productive manner without additional complications that could impact their wellbeing and freedoms within these two nations.
Women’s rights in both China and Canada continue to evolve in different ways, and both nations are far from fully supportive of the freedom of women to do as they wish in the context of daily living. Many women face the reality that they do not possess significant backing and support from the political spectrum, even when there are claims that this is the case. Women are not given the respect that they deserve in many societies, and males are largely affected by new and existing government benefits in both nations. Females do not experience the same benefits and are severely limited by the difficulties related to limitations in their legal rights and the risks that they face with respect to disenfranchisement and violence. It is important for leaders and political parties in both nations to recognize their responsibility to improve the lives of citizens and to make a difference by advocating for women’s rights, while also considering the value of developing new perspectives to address the unique contributions of women to these societies. In many ways, gender should be irrelevant in the context of areas such as occupations and the workforce, as both are able to contribute to society and to the economy at very high levels. It is believed that when women are treated as equals and are given the respect that they deserve in many different circles that will impact their overall wellbeing.
The gender gap in both countries represents a significant amount of discord in many areas, thereby creating an environment that is both challenging and is filled with different obstacles. It is the responsibility of different groups to aim to make a difference in the lives of women by ensuring that they are given the opportunity to speak their views and to contribute to society at a high level, while also considering other factors that demonstrate the importance of shaping societies that support greater equality among all persons. Beyond the traditional factors that are considered in gender-based studies, it is important to develop a greater understanding of the dynamics of social change and adaptation that women experience in countries such as China (Jacka 7). For women who move from rural to urban areas, for example, it is important to identify the different factors which impact their decisions, such as gender oppression and acts of violence (Jacka 7). It is important to recognize that these actions play a role in how women often view their surroundings and in determining what is required to achieve the desired outcomes within a given set of circumstances (Jacka 7). Women who migrate from rural areas to urban locations, for example, must be able to experience a transition that will have a positive impact on their wellbeing, while also enabling them to acclimate to a new environment in a supportive manner (Jacka 8). However, this is not always the case and requires a greater understanding of the dynamics of gender differences and bias within a given nation and how these beliefs translate into mistreatment or other issues that impact daily life and limit the potential of individuals, particularly women (Jacka 8). There must be a greater emphasis on understanding the dynamics of a given situation and how women are treated within a given culture in order to create opportunities for improvement; however, this is often negated by the different beliefs and attitudes towards women that often override the good will and positive emotions that are identified (Jacka 8). Women are often limited by their experiences and provide a basis for their lack of acceptance in a larger framework of society; therefore, they do not receive equal treatment to their male counterparts and struggle for survival in many environments.
Gender-based differences are significant and are realized in many different countries, particularly as they continue to prevail across societies. Males and females are different for a number of reasons, and these differences should be celebrated, not contradicted, particularly for women. The state plays a significant role in symbolizing gender differences and reflects the importance of shaping an environment in which there are significant opportunities for change when the effort has been made (Randall & Waylen 8). In particular, women are affected by many different policies and must be able to contribute at a high level to society in order to gain footing; however, this also reflects a change in many respects towards policies that are specifically geared towards women and their rights, while also considering other factors that influence their lives in different ways (Randall &Waylen 8). It is known that “Gender (and racial and class) inequalities are therefore buried within the state, but through part of the same dynamic process, gender relations are partly constituted through the state. The state therefore partly reflects and partly helps to create particular forms of gender relations and gender inequality. State practices construct and legitimate gender divisions, and gendered identities are in part constructed by the law and private discourses which emanate from the state” (Randall & Waylen 7). Under these conditions, it is expected that there will continue to be new perspectives regarding gender inequality that are enforced by governments and that emphasize male-dominated positions of power and authority in many respects (Randall & Waylen 7). This reflects the significance of the gender divide and how it impacts political decision-making at the national level, thereby creating an environment where inequality is the norm rather than the exception. Under these conditions, it is important to understand the complex nature of the state and what is required to ensure that equal treatment of males and females is a strong objective, even if it is not a reality.
In other contexts, it is necessary to develop an understanding of how governments such as those in China and Canada play a role in gender inequality on many levels. It is the responsibility of governing bodies to treat all citizens with the utmost respect, regardless of gender; however, it is also important to address these concerns in the context of leaders who aim to develop policies that promote gender discrimination. This is particularly relevant in countries such as China, where there are significant limitations associated with the development of policies that govern with discriminatory acts in mind. It is important for leaders to recognize that the rights of women are of critical importance from a governing perspective because they provide a basis for engaging women in society and in supporting their needs in different areas that impact their daily lives. Those who govern in nations such as China must recognize gender bias as it exists and be able to overcome said bias with policies that support equal protections. When this is not the case, it is reflected poorly in the actions taken by governments towards women and the lack of protection that they receive with respect to basic human rights. Their needs must be met with a comprehensive plan in place, and this requires a knowledge base that will contribute towards a positive mindset for women throughout the nation and encourage women to make a difference in society. When the Chinese government is able to recognize women as equal contributors to society, then it is possible that they will empower women to make their own decisions independently and to make a difference that will have a lasting impact over time.
From the perspective of a Western nation such as Canada, it is important to identify the different factors that influence the lives of women in different ways. This reflects a need to evaluate current policies on a continuous basis and to enable women to contribute at a high level to society and in positions of power. This will demonstrate the importance of understanding how women might gain support when they are treated with respect and admiration, rather than with contempt or condescension. There must be a greater emphasis on the development of new perspectives from a governmental point of view in order to encourage Canadian leaders to open up opportunities to greater numbers of women and to be mindful of the value that they bring to the table in many ways, including their knowledge and wealth of experience that will have a positive impact in many areas. With this perspective in mind, it is necessary to evaluate the conditions under which women are governed, the types of opportunities that they have, and the freedoms that will enable them to make a difference. Women must be active contributors to all parts of society and gender inequality must be minimized as much as possible in order to prevent further challenges for women that influence their lives in a negative manner. In a Western nation such as Canada, it is more important than ever to evaluate the circumstances under which women area able to improve their quality of life through active participation and a greater focus on areas of interest that capture their attention.
There are significant differences that influence how women are treated in China and Canada, thereby creating an environment in which there are significant opportunities to achieve success in these nations. Women continue to struggle to be realized as equals within their home countries and as visitors to other nations, particularly in societies where male dominance is the norm. Therefore, it is important to recognize these differences and to be mindful of the issues that will continue to plague women throughout the world, given the issues that women experience that limit their growth, opportunity, and freedom on many levels. It is the responsibility of different individuals and groups to take a stand against violence and inequality against women, as this reflects a need to further examine the constructs of treatment towards women and how it impacts their quality of life and ability to make a difference. China and Canada represent two starkly different nations; therefore, women within these countries must be evaluated more closely in order to determine the current structure related to their rights and how they are limited by their respective nations’ policies and regulations.
Gender-based differences are significant in many areas and reflect a greater need to acknowledge much of the bias that exists throughout modern society; therefore, it is necessary to consider other obstacles that limit equality among both genders. There must be a greater emphasis on the ability of males and females to openly communicate regarding issues of importance, to compare and contrast their experiences, and to develop collaborative efforts that will facilitate effective relations. This is an ongoing effort that is more difficult in some nations than in others, particularly in China, as there are significant limitations on women’s rights within this nation. Therefore, it is important for individuals to recognize that women must be treated with respect and be able to be recognized for their contributions to society and to new worlds where women play an important role in shaping the lives of others. Once minds are opened to these possibilities, it is likely that there will be significant opportunities for growth and development that will bring women to a new level within these cultures and engage them in powerful discussions with their male counterparts regarding issues of monumental importance to them and to society as a whole that influence decision-making and other factors to support improvements in many areas.
Women in China face many challenges on the domestic front that limit their ability to speak their minds without fear of confrontation or retaliation; therefore, it is necessary to evaluate these conditions more closely and to make sense of the realities of women in these two countries. From the Western perspective, women in Canada have come a long way with respect to their rights and freedoms, and this reflects a need to support the advancements of these nations in supporting change and progress for women. At the same time, advocating for women in response to violence is a critical factor in supporting their longevity and sustainability as a gender with specific cultural norms and values. In China, however, circumstances are quite different in many ways and reflect a need to further examine how they are mistreated and are ineffective in protecting women against unnecessary risk or harm. Women in China are still treated as if they are second-class citizens and do not receive the respect and support that they deserve to facilitate change and successful outcomes; therefore, these issues require further examination and must be supported by a long-term strategy to improve outcomes and to address women’s rights more closely.
Women throughout the world do not generally receive the respect and support that they deserve, and this is largely influenced by a lack of enthusiasm for their contributions to society. As a result, they are often disrespected and mistreated in many ways, and this limits their ability to fight for their own cause. It is the responsibility of nations such as China, where women are treated as second-class citizens, to be mindful of their decisions and to recognize that their actions towards women must improve at the government and societal levels. Although there has been a greater emphasis on women’s rights in China, the actions taking place do not coincide with the words that are spoken; therefore, it is an uphill battle for women in this nation to gain the respect and admiration that they richly deserve. The Chinese government, in spite of its Communist regime, must continue to develop methods to support women more coherently and openly in order to send a message to society that women deserve more respect and should be lauded for their efforts to gain respect for their knowledge and merits to society.
In Canada, women have come a long way in their efforts to achieve equality and greater respect, and due to the Western ideals of this advanced nation, have been largely successful in this regard; however, complex issues remain that must continue to be addressed at the national level, including acts of violence against women and the limitations that they experience with respect to lack of equality in the workforce and in political circles. Therefore, these gaps must be bridged and must provide a basis for examining new ideas and perspectives that will have a positive and lasting impact on women and their rights over the long term. When women are treated with the respect that they deserve within the society that is currently in place, it is likely that their influence on Canadian culture and the surrounding environment will flourish and enable them to engage in new forms of decision-making and support that will influence their roles over the long term.
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