Women’s Triple Burden

  • Jiping Zuo
Part of the Politics and Development of Contemporary China book series (PDCC)


Based on the life stories of the women and men of the revolutionary cohort, this chapter shows the limitations of state socialism for women’s liberation, but not merely from the perspective of gender inequality, as many feminists see it. Rather, it does so from the vantage point of a three-way interaction between the state, families, and women, and shows the triple burden borne by women in fulfilling their national and family obligations: serving the nation, helping support the family, and continuing to shoulder the lioness’s share of routine domestic responsibilities. Finally, it finds that collective gains for Chinese society are the principal compensation for the sacrifices made by urban women and men.


Socialist Enterprise Economic Campaign Provider Role Domestic Responsibility Obligation Equality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Baca Zinn, M. 1994. Feminist rethinking from racial-ethnic families. In Women of color in U.S. society, ed. M. Baca Zinn and B.T. Dill. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bian, Yanjie. 1994. Work and inequality in China. Albany, NY: State University of New York.Google Scholar
  3. Chen, Tina M. 2003. Female icons, feminist iconography? Socialist rhetoric and women’s agency in 1950s China. Gender & History 15: 268–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Connell, R.W. 2002. Gender. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  5. Kandiyoti, D. 1998. Gender, power and contestation. In Feminist visions of development, ed. C. Jackson and R. Pearson, 135–151. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Lin, Chun. 2006. The transformation of Chinese socialism. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Liu, Jieyu. 2007. Gender and Work in Urban China. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Meisner, Maurice. 1999. Mao’s China and after: A history of the People’s Republic. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  9. Oropesa, R.S. 1997. Development and marital power in Mexico. Social Forces 75: 1291–1317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Pan, Yi. 2014. Rural welfare in China. Beijing: Social Sciences and Academic Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  11. Rofel, Lisa. 1999. Other modernities. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Sen, Amartya. 2015. Harmony and disharmony in social development: Comparative experiences of China and India (in Chinese). China Social Worker Service Platform. June 13.
  13. Treas, J. 1993. Money in the bank: Transaction costs and the economic organization of marriage. American Sociological Review 58: 723–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Wolf, Margery. 1985. Revolution postponed; women in contemporary China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Zuo, Jiping. 2009. Rethinking family patriarchy and women’s positions in pre-socialist China. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 542–557, 2009.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiping Zuo
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Cloud State UniversitySaint CloudUSA

Personalised recommendations