Unveil Half the Sky: Paradox of Women's Role in the 4 Decades of China's Family Planning Policy

Shuangshuang Yang , Shanghai University
Yingchun Ji, Shanghai University

The famous one-child family planning policy, had been implemented for over four decades; this “tradition”, however, was put to an end by the announcement of selective two-child policy in 2013 and then universal two-child policy in 2015. Adopting a gender perspective, this review integrates both empirical and conceptual research on changes of China’s family planning policies from the 1970s up to now. Contrary to most previous studies that depict Chinese women as fragile receivers of family planning policies, this research presents the duality and paradox of roles of women during the enforcement of policy. After a thorough review, we have identified changing gender ideology during different periods and dynamics of women’s labor force participation as key mechanisms to understand women’s reactions to the one-child policy, which shapes the enforcement, modifications, effects and the end of the policy. We further discuss new gender and family dynamics under universal two-child policy.

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 Presented in Session 242. Challenges in Operationalizing Population and Reproductive Health Policies and Programs