Strategy for Revolution in 21st Century
Mao on Women
1919-1966
Its relation to a Culture of Peace for the 21st Century

Sources

Marx and Engels:
Communist Manifesto

Marx:
Civil War in France

Marx:
Alienation

Marx:
Theory of History

Marx and Engels:
On Human Nature

Engels:
Anti-Dühring

Engels:
Violence and the Origin of the State

Engels:
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Marx, Engels, Lenin:
On Dialectics

Lenin:
What is to be done?

Lenin:
Imperialism

Lenin:
The State and Revolution

Lenin: War Communism

Lenin:
The Cultural Revolution

Lenin:
Left-Wing Communism

Lenin:
The American Revolutions

Lenin:
The French Revolutions

Lenin:
On Workers Control

Lenin:
On Religion

Lenin:
On the Arms Race

Trotsky:
Militarization of Labor

Luxemburg:
Russian Revolution

Zetkin:
The Women's Question

Mao:
Role of Communist Party

Mao:
On Violence

Mao:
On the Army

Mao:
On Women

Mao:
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

Mao and Fidel:
Fall of the American Empire

Guevara:
Man and Socialism in Cuba

Hall and Winston:
Fighting Racism

Fanon:
National Liberation and Culture

Cabral: National Liberation and Culture

Nkrumah: Neo-Colonialism


When Mao was young he was active with groups opposed to the feudal marriage traditions in China. In 1919, he wrote an article about the suicide of a young woman named Miss Chao in which he attacks the oppression of women: "The circumstances in which Miss Chao found herself were the following; (1) Chinese society; (2) the Chao family of Nanyang Street in Changsha; (3)the Wu family of Kantzuyuan Street in Changsha, the family of the husband she did not want. These three factors constituted three iron nets, composing a kind of triangular cage. Once caught in these three nets, it was in vain that she sought life in every way possible. There was no way for her to go on living ... It happened because of the shameful system of arranged marriages, because of the darkness of the social system, the negation of the individual will, and the absence of the freedom to choose one's own mate."

By 1927, as quoted in the Little Red Book of his writings, Mao referred to the oppression of women as feudal patriarchy: "A man in China is usually subjected to the domination of three systems of authority [political authority, family authority and religious authority].... As for women, in addition to being dominated by these three systems of authority, they are also dominated by the men (the authority of the husband). These four authorities - political, family, religious and masculine - are the embodiment of the whole feudal-patriarchal ideology and system."

Mao's comments echo those of Lenin, made six years earlier for International Women's Day: "Under capitalism, the female half of the human race suffers under a double yoke. The working woman and peasant woman are oppressed by capital; but in addition to that, even in the most democratic of bourgeois republics, they are, firstly, in an inferior position because the law denies them equality with men, and secondly, and this is most important, they are "in domestic slavery," they are "domestic slaves," crushed by the most petty, most menial, most arduous, and most stultifying work of the kitchen, and by isolated domestic, family economy in general."

In 1945, on the verge of revolution, he demanded that it "ensure freedom of marriage and equality as between men and women," (from Women in The Little Red Book).

And in 1955, as President of the Peoples Republic of China, Mao insisted that "In order to build a great socialist society it is of the utmost importance to arouse the broad masses of women to join in productive activity. Men and women must receive equal pay for equal work in production. Genuine equality between the sexes can only be realized in the process of the socialist transformation of society as a whole" (from Women in The Little Red Book).

By the end of the 20th Century, the statistics for women in China had approached closer than most of the Third World to those of Europe and other rich capitalist nations. According to the United Nations figures from UNIFEM, women made up 39% of the workforce, 39% of students in secondary education and over 20% of the parliament (higher than any other of the ten richest countries except for Germany which had 32%). At the very top of the leadership of China, however, men remain in control, reflecting the continued importance of the Red Army in determining power, i.e. a socialist culture of war.

The struggle for women's equality must remain an essential part of revolutionary programs as we enter the 21st Century.

To take part in a discussion about this page, go to the Forum on Writings of Mao Tse-Tung on the Discussion Board:
discussion board

Issues

Revolutionary socialist culture of peace

Culture of War

Internal Culture of War

Culture of Peace

Education for nonviolence and democracy

Sustainable development for all

Human rights vs exploitation

Women's equality vs patriarchy

Democratic participation vs authori- tarianism

Tolerance and solidarity vs enemy images

Transparency vs secrecy

Disarmament vs armament

Revolutionary leadership

Revolutionary organization

Proletarian Interna- tionalism

National Liberation

Guerrilla Warfare

Terrorism

Agent Provocateurs

Communica- tion systems

Psychology for revolution- aries

Capitalist culture of war

Socialist culture of war

Winning Conflict by Nonviolence


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More Sources

South African
Peace Process

Soviet Union
Disarmament Proposals

Soviet Collapse

Slovo:
Has Socialism Failed?

Freire:
Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Fidel:
Ecology in Cuba

Fidel:
On Religion

Mandela:
Human Rights in South Africa

King
on Nonviolence

Gandhi
on Nonviolence

Gandhi
on Communism