Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Joyce Madancy




China, Women's Studies


Over the last century, China has undergone a tremendous amount of change. For women, these changes have brought unprecedented rights and opportunities. The state plays a critical role in the status of women in China and this is shown in the accomplishments that the Chinese government has achieved regarding women's rights. To understand gender disparity in China, it is important to understand traditional customs and rituals, traditional ideologies, and the traditional roles that the state used to play in the subordination women in ancient Chinese society. However, enormous changes have occurred in the last century. The fall of the last dynasty ushered in a new state, with a completely different ideology. This is a state that has implemented laws and reforms that have drastically improved the lives of Chinese women. However, despite all these positive changes, some traditional norms remain deeply rooted in Chinese society and in Chinese families. This thesis argues that this is due to the lack of enforcement of those laws and reforms by the state. Although Chinese women are legally equal to men, this is not the case in reality. If gender equality is to be realized in China, the support of the Chinese state is necessary.