11 November 2020

ThinkChina Analysis: In Between - Gender, Solidarity and Legality?

Part I (of II): European and Chinese Perspectives

This analysis on the issues of gender and solidarity in China and the EU, is the first part of a two-part ThinkChina Analysis, written by Hanne Petersen from University of Copenhagen (Part I), and Simona Novaretti, University of Turin.

1) In Part I, Hanne Petersen discuses the EU and China: Increasing inequalities and social tensions - solidarity and harmony.
2) In Part II, Simona Novaretti investigates Chinese legislation and traditional values, and the concepts of solidarity and gender.

Picture credit: "Between" by SagaLun under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license, and edited by ThinkChina.

This two-part analysis explores the issues of gender and solidarity. The analysis investigates the developments causing internal tensions in China and the EU, leading to a revitalisation of the concepts of ‘harmony’ and ‘stability’. In the Chinese context, the analysis reflects upon the way in which the stronger emphasis on traditional values has influenced the interpretation of solidarity and gender, and how this interpretation is reflected in recent Chinese legislation.

In Part I, Hanne Petersen discusses similarities between EU and China in the 21st century; Both parts are strongly influenced by neoliberal ideas, inequality and social tensions. In China, this led to a development of a neo-Confucian ideology, and an emphasis on the ‘Harmonious Society’. In the EU, solidarity was similarly invoked as a means to minimize said tensions.

In Part II, Simona Novaretti investigates the way in which a stronger emphasis on traditional Chinese values has influenced the interpretation given to the concepts of solidarity and gender in China, and how this interpretation is reflected in the most recent Chinese legislation.

Key takeaways:

  • China and Europe have interlinked and somewhat parallel developments in relation to gender in the neoliberal era.
  • A value shift away from equality towards economic growth and competition has been taking place, and very little has been achieved in both China and EU in terms of equal pay, (regulated since 1951) and equal representation in politically important institutions.
  • China has counteracted tensions and confrontations arising from this shift by a return to Confucian harmony and increasing family obligations for women in China.
  • Europe has experienced a symbolic call for trans-national and gender solidarity by politi-cians as well as by Pope Francis between the old and rich EU members and the new and poorer former Eastern European members in the expanded EU.
  • Demographics, demand for natural resources, climate change and globalization are changing the world and impacting geopolitical, gendered and generational relations.

: China, Europe, Gender, Solidarity, Law, Harmonious society, equity, United Nations

Download and read Part I here

For Part II, please follow this link

The analysis has been previously published in Studi di Genere, Donne per l'Europa 2, February 2020