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Subject: Environment and Enlightenment of Women's Participation in Politics in the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region During the Anti-Japanese War
Category: 国内
Author: Jiang Xiuhua
Time: 2017
Source: China Women's Studies Network
Keyword: Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia border region, women's participation in politics, environment, enlightenment
Full text:
During the war against the Japanese army, the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia border region was the political center of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Central Military Commission to guide the people's resistance to Japanese invaders, and the rear of the Eight Route Army, the New Fourth Army and the Anti Japanese base area. The CPC Central Committee attached great importance to the consolidation and construction of the regime, and took the region as the "experimentation area" for democratic construction, which provided an important opportunity for women's political participation, and created favorable conditions for women's political participation through the implementation of policies and measures on women's political participation. Women participated in the construction of a border regime with high political enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit, and their political participation made great achievements, becoming a brilliant chapter in the history of the Chinese women's movement. The favorable environment provided for women by the CPC and the government in the period of the Anti-Japanese war will have important significance for promoting women to participate social governance in the four comprehensive strategic layouts, and play a better role of holding up half the sky.
I. Providing an institutional guarantee for the equality of women's participation in political affairs and the realization of their rights
Equal enjoyment of political rights is the basis and prerequisite for women's participation in politics. During the War of Resistance Against Japan, safeguarding women's right to participate in politics was of great significance for expanding the party's mass base of women, consolidating the democratic regime in the border region, expanding the national united front of the Anti-Japanese army and promoting the development of the women's movement. The Central Committee of the CPC attached great importance to safeguarding women's equal political rights. In the three democratic elections in the region in 1937, 1941 and 1945, and 3 sessions of the Council in 1939, 1942 and 1946, women actively participated in the discussions on elections and the construction of the region, and had full equality with men on rights of political participation. The political status of women was improved significantly.
In order to ensure the realization of women's equal political rights, the Party and government of the region adopted some special measures to ensure women's access to decision-making bodies at all levels. In January 1939, the first session of the council passed the "Motion on Improving Women's Political, Economic and Cultural Status", stipulating to encourage women's participation in politics with the council at all levels having 25% female senators, and the authorities recruiting a large number of women to work."
II. Creating a broad organizational foundation and mass base for women's participation in politics
The widespread mobilization of women's participation in women's organizations is an important way to promote women's participation in politics. After the beginning of the overall Anti-Japanese War, the Party committee and the government of the border region proposed the establishment and expansion of women's organizations, and called for the combination of mobilization for the war, the election of women's federations and the movement of universal suffrage. In March 8, 1938, the first Women's Federation of the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region was announced on the First Congress of Women Representatives in the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia border region. The women's federation was established to unite and organize two thirds of women in this region, reaching 170 thousand people.
III. Carrying out political mobilization and capacity building to enhance the awareness and validity of women's participation in politics
Political mobilization and the construction of women's ability to participate in politics are two basic elements to improve the awareness and validity of women's participation in politics. The Party and the government of the border region mainly took on work from two aspects: first, to carry out social education and improve women's cultural quality and political level; second, to train women cadres.
Social education was an important social policy implemented by the CPC in the Anti-Japanese base. It is not only the masses literacy campaign, but also a comprehensive political mobilization tool, enhancing the general public recognition of the Communist regime and the political power of the CPC in rural society.
In September 1937, the Outline of the Women's Movement pointed out that: "It is the central task of women's work to train a large number of women cadres of the party and the masses to meet the new stage of the war." In 1938, Mao Zedong pointed out that, "women bear a heavy responsibility in the war of resistance, and they must be organized, and a large number of women cadres must lead the work of women." After China Women's University was founded in Yanan, it specifically set up a class for the rural women cadres in the region. At the same time, women students took active part in political work and aroused the awareness and participation of rural women.
IV. Adapting to women's needs, innovating ways of voting
Paying attention to, understanding and meeting women's needs are practical considerations for enhancing women's enthusiasm for participation in politics and meeting the interests of women. During the war, all the Anti-Japanese base areas carried out social changes centered on political mobilization. The government of the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia border region mobilized women's participation in politics through improving women's status and solving difficulties in women's lives, starting from their vital interests. In July 9, 1937, the government published a notice on the prohibition of foot-binding in the "New China Newspaper", pointing out that binding women's feet was one of the most barbarous and lawless feudal habits. In 1939, the government formulated the "Ordinance on the Prohibition of Women's Foot-binding in the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region". The prohibition work on foot binding was made one of the main tasks of government. In August 1942, the government once again issued a "command" effectively prohibiting women's foot-binding. The anti-footbinding movement brought great liberation of women's physical and mental health, letting women actively support the party's principles and policies. In view of the feudal marriage habits, the government established a wartime children's nursery branch, held midwifery training classes, and carried out various forms of training to solve practical difficulties and problems facing women in child care, health, education etc.

Women's political participation improved women's social status, strengthened their recognition of the CPC’s regime, strategy and policy, promoted democracy in the region, and also trained a large number of outstanding women as the backbone of the Chinese revolution and women's movement. In fact, women's participation in politics and the construction of political power in the border area formed a beneficially interactive relationship. Today, giving full play of women's role in the management of national and social affairs is women's aspiration and also the call of the times. In the face of many difficulties and obstacles in the political participation of women, the government should further strengthen the implementation, supervision and evaluation of related laws and take active measures to improve the democratic system, to create a more favorable environment for women's political participation.

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