A Different Marital Equality

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


This chapter explores conceptions of marital equality among urban women of the Mao and post-Mao generations. It shows that, instead of engaging in transactional equity as suggested by Western theories of social exchange, many Chinese women pursue “relational harmony” with their spouses. To them, it is mutual respect and equal dignity that constitute the essence of marital equality rather than the exchange values of paid market work and unpaid domestic responsibilities. Chinese women’s alternative conceptions of marital equality are attributable to their perception of the family setting as a collective in which they share common interests with their spouses, aiming for spousal cooperation and relational harmony. Alternative marital exchange patterns are also explored in this chapter.


Gender Equality Chinese Woman Domestic Work Household Labor Gender Ideology 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

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

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