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  • Writer's pictureZhaoyi Fang

Three-Child Policy of China

Personal Experiences and Backgrounds

As an international student from China, I witnessed how Roe v. Wade explodes on social media when it was overruled earlier this year. That is when I started to take care of each gendered policy and accidents that happened in my homeland. To be honest, China is a very “traditional” society as it used to be decades ago and it doesn’t change much. By traditional, I mean patriarchal, where men are having more privileges compared to women. Because of the economic status and the huge population in manufacturing/agriculture industries, boys are considered the only “breadwinner” of the family. Under the One-Child Policy, women living in rural areas went to doctors when they were pregnant to find out if it was a boy or a girl. Even though this is illegal to tell family members about the gender of the child, many families do get the answer of it and choose abortion if it’s a girl.



The word men said in this picture is, "Why it's a girl?!" It reflected the fact that in rural areas families were expecting boys rather than girls. Link Here


From this perspective, people may think that Three-Child Policy could save girls to get “killed” by abortion, but there is more inequality emerged as society develops. The rest of this post will be talking about how Three-Child Policy creates gender inequality in the 21st Century, and how does Chinese public react to it.



Who gives birth?

It is women who get pregnant for around ten months and give birth with huge pain and other side effects that damage their bodies. This is only the most obvious sacrifice pregnant women experience. However, pregnant women could be a teacher, a player, or a scientist, and they could be important in their field, yet they sacrifice themselves to stay in their homes and hospital to recover from the parturition. New mothers are rewarded with the new task to take care of the baby including breastfeeding and cleaning infants’ trash. There is a saying called “相夫教子” in China, which means to take care of the husband and to educate the child. This word basically means locked women up at home, which make men could perform as the only breadwinner of the family to show masculinity as Messerschmidt suggested.


About Three-Child Policy

Because of the aging population problem in China, the Chinese government allow families to have two children in 2014 with the Two-Child Policy. After 7 years in 2021, the Chinese government announced the Three-Child Policy as a “family planning policy”. The increasing number of pregnant women alerted business owners because they are not willing to pay for women during maternity leave. Nevertheless, it is too late to not fire women who were already pregnant, so companies are discriminating against married women who don’t have a child yet. Either way, women are losing their jobs because of this policy.


Public’s Reaction

Massive opinions were spread when people saw this policy, and people may hold different thoughts since we are all from different social backgrounds; however, stats won't lie, and let's take a look if this policy actually worked. In the article of the Chinese National Health Commission (NHC), it turns out that women’s desire of having children is decreasing. According to the article, in the year 2017 when the Three-Child Policy didn’t come out, the average number of children women wish to have been 1.76; while it decreased to 1.64 in 2021. Women born in the 1990s and 2000s, who are considered the important group giving birth, their numbers are even lower, which is 1.54 and 1.48. The heavy economic burden, lacking time to take care of the children, and anxiety about future career development are the main obstacles women faced.

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