Spanning the century from the Taiping Rebellion through the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, this is the first comprehensive history of women in modern China. Its scope is broad, encompassing political, economic, military, and cultural history, and drawing upon Chinese and Japanese sources untapped by Western scholars.
The book presents new information on a wide range of topics: the impact of Western ideas on women, especially in education; the importance of women in the labor force; the relative independence enjoyed by some women textile workers; the struggle against footbinding; the influence of anarchism; the participation of a women’s brigade in the Revolution of 1911; the role of women in the May Fourth Movement; the differences between the more assertive women of South China and the ‘traditional’ women of the North in organizing for political action; the involvement of peasant women in insurgency and anti-Japanese struggles in the countryside; and the effects of the Marriage Law of 1950.
The author has contributed a new preface to this English edition, and Joshua A. Fogel and Susan Mann have written an introduction that places the book in the context of studies of Chinese women, Japanese sinology, and women’s history in general. The book has extensive notes, a bibliography, and, as an appendix, a chronology of the history of women in modern China.