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HUMA 100G The Women’s Movement in China: Causes and Effect

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  1. HUMA 100G The Women’s Movement in China: Causes and Effect Background History of the Women’s Movement

  2. History of the Women’s Movement • The Women’s Movement • The United States (US) Women’s Movement • Historical Background • Organization • Education • Voting Rights/Suffrage • Second Phase • Highlights of Women’s Movement in Other Nations • Western Influence on the Chinese Women’s Movement • The Chinese Women’s Movement • The United nations and the Women’s Movement

  3. Women’s Movement • According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Women’s Movement is a: • Social movement, largely based in the United States. • The first wave, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, focused on women's legal rights, such as the right to vote. • The second wave, late 20th century to the present times, focuses on equal rights and opportunities for women in economic activities, in their personal lives, and in politics. • Although the movement originated in the West, it has spread to the whole world.

  4. Women’s Movement (2) • Throughout most of world history, women were confined to the domestic sphere, while public life was reserved for males. • When the Industrial Revolution began and the economic center moved increasingly outside of the home, there were changes and tensions in the lives of both men and women. • New opportunities for men in education and employment as well as social protest against injustice by both men and women caused many women to question the role society gave them as wives and mothers. • Many women had been active in organizing to obtain better working conditions and they were joined by many men who were also working for better working conditions. • As men began to obtain voting rights women wanted that as well.

  5. Women’s Movement (3) • Although the movement began in the United States in the 1820s New Zealand (1893) was the first country to give women the right to vote. • In the following century it spread throughout the European and European-colonized world. • Today women's suffrage – right to vote – is considered a right except for a few countries, mainly in the Middle East, ex: • Women have partial suffrage: proof of elementary education is required for women but not for men; voting is compulsory for men but optional for women. • No suffrage for women. Women do not have the right to vote nor to stand for election.

  6. The US Women’s Movement: Historical Background • From the late colonial period through the American Revolution (1600-1775s), women's work usually centered on the home. • Other women worked as governesses, servants or slaves. • Unmarried and divorced women, without property, might work in another household, helping out with household chores of the wife or substituting for the wife if there was no other women in the family. • Many women, especially widows, owned businesses. • Women worked as pharmacists, barbers, blacksmiths, sextons, printers, tavern keepers and midwives.

  7. The US Women’s Movement:Historical Background (2) • In 1776, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John (Adams), who was attending the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, asking that he and the other men who were working on the Declaration of Independence – “Remember the ladies." • John Adams responds with humor: • “The Declaration's wording specifies that ‘all men are created equal’." • He further replied that the men will fight the "despotism of the petticoat."

  8. The US Women’s Movement: Organization • By 1840, 10% of women held jobs outside the household; ten years later, this had risen to 15% as factory owners hired women and children paying them lower wages than men. • Women were preferred for some jobs, like sewing – by hand – as the jobs were considered "women's work.” • In 1863, a committee in New York City, helped women collect unpaid wages. • Working women organized their own organizations like the Working Women’s association (1868) which represented women on pay and working conditions. • The National Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) was then established for improved wages and better working conditions for women. • The National Association of Colored Women was formed, bringing together more than 100 black women's clubs.

  9. The US Women’s Movement: Organization (2) • Women against alcoholism – one of the most successful campaigns: • The Women’s Christian Temperance Movement (WCTU) was the largest women’s organization of the 19th century. • Founded in 1874, it addressed what was most women’s main concern - the terrible damage that men’s alcoholism did to their families. • The movement to ban alcohol began in the town of Hillsboro, Ohio in 1873, when a group of about 100 women came to the town’s saloons, praying and urging them to close their doors. This continued for many weeks. • It spread to several other states and was called "the Woman’s Uprising" by one historian – about 3000 saloons were closed and taxes in Ohio and Indiana dropped by $350,000 for January and February 1874.

  10. The US Women’s Movement: Organization (3) • Rural women: • When the farmers’ associations were formed, the educated rural women were allowed to join and were allowed equal voice and voting rights, recognizing their importance to rural family economies and communities. • Women took the opportunity and participated fully. • They wrote for the rural papers, lobbied in state and local forums for fair treatment of small farmers and gave speeches. • The extension of equal voting rights in this organization led rural women to support both woman suffrage and temperance.

  11. The US Women’s Movement: Education • When the push for education began, many thought that the education of girls should be on par with boys. • The need for such education was tied to the needs of the new republic; women would make sure that patriotic sons were raised properly. • When boys’ schools did not admit girls, schools for girls were established. • As public education grew in early 19th century, girls were included along with boys. • By 1860, it was almost as likely for a white girl as a white boy to attend school, even in rural areas. • In 1870, there were only 160 high schools in the country; ten years later, the figure was almost 800 and by the end of the century, the number had grown to 6000.

  12. The US Women’s Movement: Education (2) • From 1870 until the middle of the 20th century, female high school graduates outnumbered male graduates. • Census of 1880 found that the proportion of literacy for young women was actually higher than of young men. • Oberlin College in Ohio was the first to admit women in 1837. • In 1870, women were allowed to attend the state university in Michigan. • When women were admitted to some private and public colleges, they were not treated as equals as educators feared that although women were able to do college work, their health was threatened if they were forced to follow the intellectual hardships of the male curriculum.

  13. The US Women’s Movement: Education (3) • Colleges, remained gender separated, opposing coeducation as it was ‘contrary to nature,’ that ‘young men would lose a proper sense of dignity of their studies’ while ‘the delicacy of the female character would be destroyed.’ • It was still believed that a college educated woman was seen as benefit to herself, her husband and her family. • By the end of the 19th century, it was found that college-educated women did not marry as often as other women did – at least 1/4 of women who graduated from college never married, more than double the proportion of non-college women. • If they married at all, they did so later in life, and consequently had fewer children. • Women had learned new skills and had higher expectations.

  14. The US Women’s Movement: Education (4) • The intent of educating women – making them better wives and mothers – seemed to be doing just the opposite. • Higher education for women was attacked as having a bad effect on the traditional concept of women and family. • Some examples of the integration of women into education in recent times: • A special technological secondary school in Baltimore took in Blacks in the 1950s but took in women in the 1970s – 20 years later. • MIT began to admit undergraduate women in the 1950s but only a handful as it did not have dorm space for women. • In the 1970s, graduate programs at Penn were reluctant to take in women as training them would be a waste of resources as they would marry and not continue in the profession.

  15. The US Women’s Movement:Voting Rights • The first official women's rights meeting in the United States was held in New York State in 1848. • After 2 days of discussion and debate, 68 women and 32 men signed a Declaration of Sentiments outlining grievances and setting the agenda for the women's rights movement. • 12 resolutions was adopted for equal treatment of women and men under the law and for voting rights for women. • Two years later, a National Women's Rights Convention attracted more than 1,000 participants. • National conventions were held annually (except for 1857) through 1860 (1861-1865: American Civil War). • In 1869, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) which included only women and worked for a national Constitutional Amendment for woman suffrage.

  16. The US Women’s Movement Voting Rights (2) • The American Woman Suffrage Association was also formed . • It accepted men as members; it worked for black and for woman suffrage – right to vote trying to change the constitutions of the individual states to permit women to vote. • These two organizations merged into one (1890) working state by state to gain voting rights for women. • In 1871 anti-suffrage associations were formed. • In 1872 Susan B. Anthony and her supporters tried to vote but were arrested. • In 1913, the Congressional Union was formed to work toward the passage of a federal amendment to give women the vote (The group was later renamed the National Women's Party). • Members picketed the White House.

  17. The US Women’s Movement:Voting Rights (3) • Wyoming (1807) was the first state to pass the women’s suffrage law allowing women to vote in state elections. • Women, as voters, were required to serve on the juries -- same as men. • New Jersey had given women partial suffrage (1776) – those owning more than $250 – but took it back in 1807. • In late 1890s and early 1900s, different states began giving women the right to vote: • Colorado (1893), Utah, Idaho (1896), Washington State (1910), California (1911), Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona (1912), Alaska and Illinois (1913), Montana and Nevada (1914), New York (1917), Michigan, South Dakota, and Oklahoma (1918). • In many states, women’s votes were ignored.

  18. The US Women’s Movement Voting Rights (4) • In 1917, three years after giving women the vote in Montana, a woman (Jeannette Rankin) was elected to Congress. • In 1919, the federal woman suffrage amendment, originally written by Susan B. Anthony and introduced in Congress in 1878, was finally passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. It was then sent to the states for ratification -- requires ¾ of state legislatures for adoption (1920). • It took a total of 70 years for women to work to get the right to vote nationwide. • Delay was caused by division in the leadership during the Civil War (1861-1865) and the black suffrage movement (1870). • Blacks were given the right to vote after the Civil War but Southern States rewrote their constitutions taking the right to vote away from the Blacks.

  19. The US Women’s Movement Second Phase • A new women's rights movement became active in the 1960s with university professors taking the lead in examining the previous Movement through Women’s Studies. • Women NGO’s were active in the communities lobbying for women’s rights. • Congress passes the Equal Pay Act (1963), making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job. • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) makes it illegal to discriminate in employment on the basis of race and sex. • At the same time it established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate complaints and impose penalties. • The US was the first country to pass laws against discrimination against women. • Reference re other countries Sl. 20-25.

  20. Highlights of Women’s Movement in Other Nations • In Britain, the Reform Acts of 1832, 1867 and 1884 extended the right to vote to all British men. But women were excluded. • Women and their supporters united to fight for full and equal voting rights. • 1869: Britain gave unmarried women who were heads of households the right to vote in local elections. • 1894: The United Kingdom expanded women's voting rights to married women in local but not national elections. • 1918: The United Kingdom gave a full vote to women of age 30 and older and men age 21 and older. • 1928: The United Kingdom granted equal voting rights to women.

  21. Highlights of Women’s Movement in Other Nations (2) • 1893: New Zealand grants equal voting rights to women (the first in the world). • 1901: Women in Australia got the vote, with some restrictions (no aboriginal women). • 1903: Australia granted voting rights to women in federal elections – women could not stand for elections until end of World War I. • 1916: Canadian women in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan got to vote. • 1917: The new Soviet Russian constitution included full suffrage to women. • 1918: Canada gave women the vote in most provinces by federal law. Quebec was not included at that time.

  22. Highlights of Women’s Movement in Other Nations (3) • 1918: Germany granted women the vote. • 1918: Russian Federation gave women the right to vote. • 1919: New Zealand allowed women to stand for election. • 1920: Canadian women got the right to stand for election (but not for all offices) • 1921: Belgium granted women the right to stand for election. • 1922: Burma (Myanmar) granted women voting rights and to stand for election (1946). • 1925: Italy granted limited voting rights to women. • 1929: Canadian women able to become members of the Senate. • 1930: White women were granted suffrage in South Africa.

  23. Highlights of Women’s Movement in Other Nations (4) • 1930: Turkey granted women the vote; stand for election (1934) – first female elected Prime Minister (1993). • 1936: Chinese constitution gave men and women equal rights; Republican Chinese women were guaranteed a minimum of 10% of the seats in the legislature 1946); Women in PRC have the right to vote (1949); (right to vote in Hunan in 1921). • 1937: Women in Philippines got the vote. • In 1946, the Constitution of the Republic of China guaranteed women a minimum of 10% of seats – maintained in Taiwan. • In 1949, the People’s Republic of China granted women the vote. • 1947: Women in Japan, Singapore, Pakistan, and Mexico got to vote. • 1960:  Siramavo Bandaranaike of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) becomes the world's first female Prime Minister. • 1966:  Indira Gandhi becomes the first Prime Minister of India.

  24. Highlights of Women’s Movement in Other Nations (5) • 1969:  Golda Meir was the first female Prime Minister of Israel.  • 1974:  Maria Estela (Isabela) Martinez de Peron was the first woman President of Argentina and the first female head of state in the Americas. • 1979:  Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo was the first woman Prime Minister of Portugal. • 1979:  Lidia Geiler was the first woman elected President of Bolivia.  • 1979:  Margaret Thatcher was the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She served in that position -- winning re-election in 1983 and in 1987 -- until resigning in 1990. • 1980:  Vigdis Finnbogadottir was the first woman elected President of Iceland. • 1981:  Gro Harlem Brundtland was the first woman to become Prime Minister of Norway.

  25. Women’s Movement in Other Nations Some Examples (7) • 1982:  Milka Planinc was the first woman to become Prime Minister of Yugoslavia. • 1986:  Corazon Aquino was the first woman elected president of the Philippines. • 1988:  Benazir Bhutto was the first woman elected Prime Minister of Pakistan and the first woman elected to head a Muslim country. She was assassinated December 2007. • 1989: Violeta Barrios de Chamorro elected President of Nicagagua. • 1990:  Mary Robinson was the first woman elected President of Ireland. • 1993:  Tansu Ciller was the first woman elected Prime Minister of Turkey.  • 1993:  Anson Chan was the first woman appointed Chief Secretary, the number two position in Hong Kong.  • 1994: Black men and women in South Africa got the vote.

  26. Western Influence on the Chinese Women’s Movement • When westerners and missionaries worked in China in the late 1880’s they thought foot-binding was cruel. • Beginning in the 1890’s Chinese reformers believed that foot-binding was old-fashioned, was crippling half of the population, and was causing loss of “international face”. • Chinese reformers felt that China was weak due to: • Physical weakness of the children born of the women with bound feet; • The women’s enforced illiteracy and ignorance of affairs of the world; • The westerners were strong as they educated both boys and girls.

  27. Western Influence on the Chinese Women’s Movement (2) • The missionaries opened schools for girls and elite Chinese sent their daughters to these schools. • A Chinese school for girls was also established under the reformers and officials. • For admission, the parents had to promise not to bind the feet of the girls nor give them as concubines to affect the reputation of the school. • Many Chinese women studied abroad and returned with new ideas for the liberation of women. • The struggle for equal rights of women was linked closely to the broader quest for “modernity”.

  28. Chinese Women’s Movement • KMT had equal rights in its Constitution of 1931 and it was formalized in its Constitution of 1936 – forerunner of the Constitution of the Republic of China. • CCP also gave women equal rights in one of their controlled areas in 1931 – by 1933 this was true of all of their controlled areas. • From the 1930s on, women fought for minimum quotas in political participation in the War Parliament – which included both KMT and CCP in its anti-Japanese war. • In 1946, the Constitution of the Republic of China (under KMT rule) guaranteed women a minimum of 10% of all elected seats – maintained in Taiwan. • In 1954, CCP affirmed gender equality in its Constitution. • Women’s victories were mainly theoretical if there are no elections as on China Mainland; there were no elections on Taiwan until it lifted martial law in 1987.

  29. Women’s Movement and the United Nations (UN) • When the UN was first established in 1945, it began to be involved in the issue of equality of gender. • A sub-commission on the equality of women was first established under the Commission of Civil Rights. • A full commission was formed – Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) – with the responsibility to prepare recommendations relating to implementing: • the principle that men and women should have equal rights, • the development of proposals to make the recommendations a reality.

  30. Women’s Movement and the United Nations (UN) (2) • Throughout its 60 years of existence, CSW has consistently promoted the advancement of women. • It has: • expanded the recognition of women’s rights, • documented the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, • shaped global policies on gender equality and empowerment of women and • ensured that the work of the UN in all areas incorporates a gender perspective. • It continues to play an important role by bringing together Governments, UN organizations, NGOs, and other international and regional organizations to promote women’s rights and advance gender equality.

  31. Women’s Movement and the UN:Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) • One of its greatest achievements is the drafting and the passage of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). • It entered into force on 3 September 1981, just 30 days after the twentieth state had ratified it. • CEDAW was the first international instrument to define discrimination against women, as: “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field”.

  32. Women’s Movement and the UN:Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (2) • CEDAW committed Governments to take: • all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the basis of equality with men”. • Since then it has been able to incorporate new themes and issues of concern, such as violence against women, HIV/AIDS or disabled women. • Its 1980 Program of Action focused on three areas of urgent concern for women: employment, health and education. • Over 8,000 participants from 187 countries attended the NGO Forum to discuss the major themes of the conference and network actively.

  33. Women’s Movement and the UN:Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (3) • CEDAW establishes an agenda of action for putting an end to sex-based discrimination: • States ratifying the Convention are required to have: • Male/female equality in their domestic legislation, • Repeal all discriminatory provisions in their laws. • Enact new provisions to guard against discrimination against women. • Establish tribunals and public institutions to guarantee women effective protection against discrimination. • Take steps to eliminate all forms of discrimination practiced against women by individuals, organizations, and enterprises. 33

  34. Women’s Movement and the UN:Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (4) • Countries that have signed CEDAW have to submit national reports, at least every four years, on what they have done to eliminate discrimination against women. • Non-Government Organizations NGOs are not official representatives but can file alternate/shadow reports on their perspective of the situation. • All reports are reviewed by the CEDAW Committee with representatives from different countries. • The Committee then send its views on what still needs to be done to the Government.

  35. CEDAW Optional Protocol • A major achievement of the Commission in the second half of the 1990s was the elaboration of an Optional Protocol to CEDAW, which introduced the right of petition for women victims of discrimination. • In a landmark decision for women, the General Assembly, acting without a vote, adopted on 6 October 1999 a 21-article Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. • By ratifying the Optional Protocol, a State recognizes the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to receive and consider complaints from individuals or groups within its jurisdiction. • The Optional Protocol entered into force on 22 December 2000, following the ratification of the tenth State party to the Convention.

  36. The United Nations and China • The PRC joined the United Nations (UN) in 1971 – prior to that the seat was occupied by the KMT Government in Taiwan. • Since then, China has signed a number of human rights treaties. • The most important treaty on equal rights for women is the one entitled “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women” (CEDAW) . • CEDAW was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 and became effective in 1981. • China was among the original 64 States to sign the treaty, CEDAW, in 1980. • But, China has refused to ratify the Protocol which would allow the UN to receive and hear complaints by Chinese individuals or groups. 36

  37. Discussion Question Would the changes have taken place without pressure from the community and world organizations? Is the UN CEDAW effective in getting China to change? 37

  38. Background (2) Introduction Development of the Role of Women Social Roles Wives and Concubines Women and Wealth Women and Work Women and Power 38

  39. Introduction The role of Chinese women was different from that of European women The position of Chinese women is influenced by Chinese traditions, Confucianism and religion. The position of European women is influenced by western traditions and Christianity. The Chinese women lived in families where there was serial monogamy and concubinage. European women lived in families where there was serial monogamy. Chinese women could not inherit the throne. European women could inherit if there is no male heir. To understand the situation of the women at the time of the Chinese women’s movement, we need to understand the role of women in traditional Chinese society. 39

  40. Introduction (2) Women played different roles in life depending on their social status, their generational rank and their economic situation. Wealth and prestige was more important than gender: A rich women or an imperial female relative could be ranked higher than most of the male officials or male officials even higher than her parents. Generational rank was more important than gender A son has to be filial to the mother. Social status was more important than gender and generational rank. An empress dowager could rule all China while male slaves are suffering. Qing Imperial concubines were more important than their parents who had to kneel to their daughters. 40

  41. Introduction (3) The status of women was influenced by tradition and culture as well as by philosophy and religion – the thinking and the beliefs of the time. Ancient religion valued women as shamans. Confucianism, Daoism and Legalism developed during the Zhou dynasty (770–221 B.C.E.) and influenced the role of women. Daoism was a native religion and had many nature goddesses. Confucianism changed as different scholars added different interpretations and women’s position became lower as the result of this development. Legalism believed in equality for all but the laws were administered by Confucian officials and was influenced by them. Buddhism was imported from India during the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E. – 220C.E.) and it also influenced the lives of Chinese women. 41

  42. Development of the Role of Women The role of women evolved through time and it was influenced mainly by “pragmatism”, patrilinealism” and “cosmology”. The continuation of the family line through sons meant that the family is continued through the males (patrilinealism). This meant that men were important to continue the family’s line while women were married out to produce the male heirs for continuing the line of another family. Patrilinealism was practiced before the birth of Confucius but was emphasized by Confucians in order to stabilize society and so is now thought of as part of Confucianism. While Patrilinealism gave women a lower position than men it also gave the women great power as mothers as the filial son was to sacrifice himself for his mother’s welfare. 42

  43. Development of the Role of Women (2) The Chinese believed in the separation of the sexes – to keep women chaste they should stay and work within the household and that men should work outside the home, but there is always a difference between theory and practice: Survival made it necessary for people to be pragmatic: The woman may need to sell goods in the market place alongside men and male customers. The pragmatic needs of life was more important than theory. Since only the rich can afford to keep their women within the households and the majority of Chinese were not wealthy, the majority of Chinese women did not stay within the households. Current percentage of persons earning $500,00 in US is 5%. 43

  44. Development of the Role of Women (3) Cosmology explains the workings of the universe. Cosmology was expressed through the concepts of yin阳and yang阴. The belief in Cosmology (the forces of yin-yang) influenced society. Women were seen as yin and men as yang. Women were seen as expressions of the pure force of yin, necessary for the universe and equal if not superior to the yang because of their ability to give life through childbirth. During the Han, theories on cosmology changed. Yang was seen as Heaven and Yin as Earth; as Heaven was superior to Earth; men were thought to be superior to women. 44

  45. Social Roles All of the above influenced the social roles of men and women. At marriage, a woman leaves the comfort of the social roles she is accustomed to at home. After marriage, she moves into a new household where she has to learn new roles in her husband’s household. As the senior widow she ruled over the household. To succeed in life, a woman had to cope with the new roles expected of her as she took her place among strangers. Women after marriage kept their natal surname and in so doing retained her birth family and her own identity. Practical reasons for doing so were to extend kinship relationships between the two families. The husband’s family might want to share in the good fortunes of the wife’s family. 45

  46. Social Roles (2) Work within the family was divided into male and female jobs. For the family to succeed as an economic unit – a man supplied the family with food and the woman with clothing – the roles of both men and women were equally necessary. Day-to-day household management was considered a female duty. Authority within that area belonged to the women; at times, mothers and daughters-in-law fought over the right to rule the household. In the early 20th century, young wives began to work in factories and they began to be more important than their mothers-in-law as they contributed to the family income. 46

  47. Social Roles: Wives and Concubines The difference between the wife and the concubine was very important. Elevating wives above concubines guaranteed that the sons of wives would inherit the lineage’s property. Reducing the number of heirs meant that less sons would be entitled to property. Ensuring the wife’s superior status meant that marriage alliances were made with families of similar social standing. Concubines came from lower status families – they may have been bought, given as gifts or promoted from maids. 47

  48. Social Roles: Women and Power The majority of women lacked political power just as the majority of men. Some privileged women played powerful roles within the government – these roles carried prestige, wealth and power. In China, ruler-ship was a family business and women exercised significant power within the family. The wives and mothers of emperors were important players in court politics as their powers went from the imperial family to the empire. Most officials opposed female participation in government as more power for the women and their relatives meant less power for the officials. 48

  49. Social Roles: Women and Power (2) Why did women want to be involved in court politics? Power for its own sake The benefits power brings to their families. Fear of becoming a victim. The way women gained power was different from that of men as they could not serve as officials in the bureaucracy. In imperial China, where power was concentrated in the person of the emperor, the palace became a battleground of women competing for power – rival concubines used: Slander, Plots, Magic, poison. 49

  50. Social Roles: Women and Wealth Many elite women exercised control over their personal finances. Even before the Qin dynasty (221 B.C.E.), a ruler would grant his wife, sisters, and mother money, land and slaves. Titled ladies owned large amounts of property in their own name; ordinary women also had economic powers. A woman might control family property while her husband was still alive. There was a legal basis for female property ownership under Qin (221 B.C.E.-206 B.C.E.) law – e.g.: the wife of an official was not liable for her deceased husband’s debts. Han judges continued observing the Qin law – women were taxed separately from men and the rate was according to age. A wife’s dowry was the core of her personal wealth. 50