IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/sae/sagope/v12y2022i1p21582440221082097.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

“As Good as a Boy†But Still a Girl: Gender Equity Within the Context of China’s One-Child Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Yijie Wang
  • Yanan Zhang

Abstract

What would happen if gender inequality were suddenly and forcefully proclaimed to be non-existent by the authorities? The Chinese one-child policy has to some extent functioned as a unique social experiment to answer this question. Historically, sons have been preferred in China. Yet, with the restriction of one child per family, many people have been rendered sonless and forced to find solace in the well-known propaganda slogan: “Having a girl is as good as having a boy.†Delving into the life experiences of singleton daughters in urban China, this study reveals that, within nuclear families, daughters are in many ways treated as if they were sons, which demonstrates people’s potential to overcome previous gender discrimination when circumstances require. However, outside the realm of nuclear families, the treatment of daughters as akin to sons falters, dissolves, or backfires in various ways, revealing that true equality cannot be achieved without a radical confrontation and systematic adjustment of existing power relations. This study contributes to understanding gender equality in China while also serving to document lived experiences in relation to a unique policy that was recently abolished.

Suggested Citation

  • Yijie Wang & Yanan Zhang, 2022. "“As Good as a Boy†But Still a Girl: Gender Equity Within the Context of China’s One-Child Policy," SAGE Open, , vol. 12(1), pages 21582440221, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:sagope:v:12:y:2022:i:1:p:21582440221082097
    DOI: 10.1177/21582440221082097
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/21582440221082097
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1177/21582440221082097?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Almas Heshmati & Biwei Su, 2017. "Analysis Of Gender Wage Differential In China’S Urban Labor Market," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 62(02), pages 423-445, June.
    2. William L. Parish & Robert J. Willis, 1993. "Daughters, Education, and Family Budgets Taiwan Experiences," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(4), pages 863-898.
    3. Kathleen McGarry & Xiaoting Sun, 2018. "Three generations of changing gender patterns of schooling in China," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 584-605, October.
    4. Michael J. Carter, 2014. "Gender Socialization and Identity Theory," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 3(2), pages 1-22, May.
    5. Yang Hu & Xuezhu Shi, 2020. "The impact of China’s one-child policy on intergenerational and gender relations," Contemporary Social Science, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 360-377, July.
    6. Ming-Hsuan Lee, 2012. "The One-Child Policy and Gender Equality in Education in China: Evidence from Household Data," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 41-52, March.
    7. McGarry, Kathleen & Sun, Xiaoting, 2018. "Three Generations of Changing Gender Patterns of Schooling in the People’s Republic of China," ADBI Working Papers 834, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    8. Huang, Wei & Lei, Xiaoyan & Sun, Ang, 2015. "The Great Expectations: Impact of One-Child Policy on Education of Girls," IZA Discussion Papers 9301, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Mengwei Tu & Kailing Xie, 2020. "Privileged Daughters? Gendered Mobility among Highly Educated Chinese Female Migrants in the UK," Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press, vol. 8(2), pages 68-76.
    10. Yilin Nie & Robert J. Wyman, 2005. "The One‐Child Policy in Shanghai: Acceptance and Internalization," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(2), pages 313-336, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Peng, Fei & Anwar, Sajid & Kang, Lili, 2022. "Number of siblings, access to treated water and returns to education in China," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 526-538.
    2. Shuang Chen, 2020. "Parental Investment After the Birth of a Sibling: The Effect of Family Size in Low-Fertility China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(6), pages 2085-2111, December.
    3. Christelle Dumas, 2004. "Impact de la structure familiale sur les décisions parentales de mise au travail des enfants : le cas du Brésil," Revue d’économie du développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 12(1), pages 71-99.
    4. Anisha Sharma & Garima Rastogi, 2020. "Unwanted daughters: The impact of a ban on sex-selection on the educational attainment of women," Working Papers 37, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    5. Sophie Hedges & David W. Lawson & Jim Todd & Mark Urassa & Rebecca Sear, 2019. "Sharing the Load: How Do Coresident Children Influence the Allocation of Work and Schooling in Northwestern Tanzania?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(5), pages 1931-1956, October.
    6. Haoming Liu, 2014. "The quality–quantity trade-off: evidence from the relaxation of China’s one-child policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(2), pages 565-602, April.
    7. Junsen Zhang & Pak-Wai Liu, 2003. "Testing Becker’s Prediction on Assortative Mating on Spouses’Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
    8. Lucio Esposito & Sunil Mitra Kumar & Adrián Villaseñor, 2020. "The importance of being earliest: birth order and educational outcomes along the socioeconomic ladder in Mexico," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 1069-1099, July.
    9. Theresa M. Greaney & Yao Li, 2017. "Examining Determinants of Foreign Wage Premiums in China," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(10), pages 2056-2077, October.
    10. Majlesi, Kaveh, 2014. "Demand for Low-Skilled Labor and Parental Investment in Children's Education: Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers 2014:5, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    11. Carlana, Michela & Tabellini, Marco, 2018. "Happily Ever After: Immigration, Natives' Marriage, and Fertility," Working Paper Series rwp18-035, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    12. Huang, Yana & Wang, Tianyu, 2022. "MULAN in the name: Causes and consequences of gendered Chinese names," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    13. Shen, Ke & Wang, Feng & Cai, Yong, 2016. "Patterns of inequalities in public transfers by gender in China," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 8(C), pages 76-84.
    14. Song, Yang & Zhou, Guangsu, 2019. "Inequality of opportunity and household education expenditures: Evidence from panel data in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 85-98.
    15. Chen, Shu & Ying, Sammy Xiaoyan & Wu, Huiying & You, Jiaxing, 2021. "Carrying on the family's legacy: Male heirs and firm innovation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    16. Ilke Onur & Malathi Velamuri, 2016. "A Life Course Perspective on Gender Differences in Cognitive Functioning in India," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 520-563.
    17. Bosworth, Steven J. & Clot, Sophie & Della Giusta, Marina, 2019. "DIY or Ask Someone Nice?," IZA Discussion Papers 12406, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Pushkar Maitra, 2003. "Schooling and Educational Attainment: Evidence from Bangladesh," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 129-153.
    19. Jere R. Behrman & Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig & Prem Vashishtha, 1999. "Women's Schooling, Home Teaching, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 682-714, August.
    20. Zhang, Hao & Bago d’Uva, Teresa & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2015. "The gender health gap in China: A decomposition analysis," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 13-26.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:sagope:v:12:y:2022:i:1:p:21582440221082097. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: SAGE Publications (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.