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Durham e-Theses
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Representations of professional women in China

Wang, Monica Y. (1998) Representations of professional women in China. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis sets out to explore the changes experienced by Chinese professional women from 1986 to 1996 through changes in the representation of them in contrasting printed sources. The thesis consists of two parts. The first part gives a personal outline of the history of Chinese women. It begins by using classic tales to display the position and place of Chinese women in Chinese history before the twentieth century. It then uses writings of the time to uncover and display images of women through the twentieth century and call attention to periods of dramatic change for women, particularly the May Fourth Movement of 1919, the Revolution and the Economic Reforms. The second part is focussed on professional women, who have risen to prominence in the last fifty years in China and now generate much debate. The core of the thesis examines contrasting representations of professional women during the historic period of transition from 1986 to 1996, after the Economic Reforms. These are taken from a) articles from official journals published in China in Chinese, namely Zhongguo funu, Xiandai funu, Funu, Zhiye funu, Guangming ribao and Wenhui ribao; b) official journals published in English for readers overseas, China Today and China Pictorial; and c) popular journals published in China in Chinese, Nubao, Funu zhiyou, and Funu shijie. Articles were selected to demonstrate the range of representations of professional women, the contrasts between the categories and the changes over time. Both summaries and translations of the articles are used, and comments made on each. The thesis centres on specific representations in China itself of professional women, set against both representations for foreigners and my own experience of the reality. Only brief reference is made to the impact of the United Nation Women's Conference in Beijing in 1995 as this issue proved very complex. The scale of change since 1986 is nonetheless clear, although the consequences remain to be seen.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1998
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2012 11:41

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