Essay on gender equality

In China, the concept of gender difference appears visually in the male/female aspects of the yin/yang Taoist symbol. The dark swirl within the symbol s circle is the passive, yielding, feminine yin the light swirl the active, aggressive, male yang. Within Taoism, then, women were able to seek spiritual fulfillment beyond their family duties. Some joined convents, others gathered with men to discuss philosophy and religion, a few became Taoist adepts. Ancient China s highest goddess, Hsi Huang Mu (Queen Mother of the West), found in the classic tale Journey to the West, also expresses aspects of yin/yang beliefs. As yin, this goddess is compassionate, promising immortality as yang, she is a force who had the power to disrupt the cosmic yin/yang harmony. Those who succeeded were accused of breaking one of nature s laws, of becoming like a hen crowing. Years after her reign, this derogatory term was applied to China s only female emperor, (Tang dynasty, 675-755 C.

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E. ). Buddhism as practiced in Japan and China also granted women some areas of empowerment. Women went on pilgrimages to Buddhist temples, retreated to nunneries, sometimes gave public lectures, and led temple groups. Chinese Buddhism was at its height during the reign of Wu Zetian who promoted the religion and even justified her rule by claiming she was a reincarnation of a previous female Buddhist saint. During Wu s reign, and throughout the early to mid Tang period, women enjoyed relatively high status and freedom.

Lovely Tang era paintings and statues depict women on horseback, and as administrators, dancers and musicians. Stories and poems, like those from the pen of the infamous female poet Yu Xuanji, also attest to the almost modern openness of the period. In contrast, Confucianism became the most pervasive doctrine to promote the belief in women s natural place. Confucius himself did not inherently denigrate women, although he placed them at the lower end of the patriarchal family structure. Written by the female historian Ban Zhoa (Han dynasty, ca. 95-675 C.

Why Gender Equality Stalled The New York Times

), Lessons became one of China s most durable sources of advice about female behavior. One nugget tells women to yield to others let her put others first, herself last. E), a reinterpretation of Confucian teaching called NeoConfucianism stratified the position of women even more. Although footbinding illustrates the perceived need to limit female mobility, the practice did not appear until the Song Dynasty and was not universally followed. Women of most ethnic minorities, including Hakka and Manchu women, did not practice it, nor did some peasants who had to work in the fields, nor did women in Japan. One of the most prominent conversations in culture today is that of gender equality.

The entertainment industry, specifically film, seems to be leading the charge across a variety of different formats. Last week the media focused attention on Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence's cutting essay about gender pay inequality for Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter. But at the exact same time, a couple thousand miles away from Hollywood other people were making their voices heard and contributing to what is a groundswell of attention around the issue of gender, equality, and image in a much more broad and bold manner. In addition, fictional stories were most definitely on the roster as well. After an enthusiastic red-carpet welcome, Tyrese screened his short film Shame to a packed house. Inspired by a song that he wrote, Shame co-stars Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson and features Tyrese as a womanizing husband.

The short was produced by Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington and directed by acclaimed video producer Paul Hunter. The film is an intriguing conversation on the psychological abuse that men can have on women and how it can affect their personal and professional performance, among many other elements. Particularly poignant was Tyrese's live commentary on the potential healing nature of the film that he hopes touches viewers who might recognize themselves in the characters.

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