China’s countryside is being transformed by rapid, far-reaching development. This wide-reaching and multidisciplinary book questions whether gender politics are changing in response to this development, and explores how gender politics inform and are reproduced or reconfigured in the languages, knowledge, processes and practices of development in rural China.
The contributors – prominent scholars in the fields of political science, sociology, gender, development and Chinese studies – argue that although gender has been elided in recent development policies, women have been singled out as a ‘vulnerable group’ requiring protection, instruction and ‘empowerment’ from paternalistic state and NGOs. Nevertheless, development has facilitated the dissemination of gender equality as an ideal and institutional norm, increased the channels through which women can advance claims for equal rights, and expanded the possibilities for agency available to them. Drawing on extensive field research in sites across China, from remote communities in Inner Mongolia and Guizhou to the fringes of expanding cities, the contributors illustrate how different women are bringing their own aspirations for development to bear in the momentous changes occurring in rural China.
This compelling and thought-provoking book will be of interest to scholars, students and researchers in the fields of public and social policy, sociology, political economy, anthropology, gender and development.