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 Traditions weigh on China's women

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Date d'inscription : 12/04/2006

MessageSujet: Traditions weigh on China's women   Mar 19 Sep - 12:58

Traditions weigh on China's women
By Christopher Allen
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/5086754.stm

In China, one woman kills herself every four minutes.

Pourquoi j'ai choisi cet article : parce que ça parle de la vie entre hommes et femmes dans une autre société, en l'occurrence la société rurale chinoise. Même si l'article ne replace pas tout dans son contexte, il décrit un phénomène d'oppression systématique à l'égard des jeunes femmes avant/après le mariage qui me touche. Il détonne quelque peu avec l'image de pays en essor industriel qui s'occidentalise à tout va, en fait, il devient matérialiste comme l'occident dans les villes, cependant les problèmes sociaux restent. BBC avait publié un autre article sur les femmes battues qui s'enfuient de chez elles ou qui disparaissent, enlevées.

The suicide rate is three times higher in rural areas than urban

According to World Health Organisation statistics, China is the only country in the world where more women commit suicide than men.

Every year, 1.5 million women attempt to take their own lives, and a further 150,000 succeed in doing so.

The problem is worse in rural areas, where the suicide rate is three times higher than in the cities.

Xu Rong, head of the Suicide Prevention Project at the Beijing Cultural Development Centre for Rural Women, says one of the reasons is the ready availability of poisons in agricultural areas.

"It's all too easy to get hold of pesticides," she says. "Some women commit suicide impulsively. A husband and wife may have a bitter fight. When it's over, the woman just grabs some poison and drinks it."

'Business deals'

Suicide attempts may often be impulsive, but they are the result of burdens that weigh heavily on the shoulders of rural women.

Marriage is a big issue where traditional attitudes still prevail.

Many marriages are arranged and operate like business deals in which the groom's parents "buy" the bride, and she becomes part of their family.

Women will face an even more terrible future in 20 years time

Xie Lihua, magazine editor

Xu Rong believes this leads to emotional problems for young wives who leave their own family and friends to enter an alien environment.

"They have their father-in-law to deal with, their mother-in-law, various uncles, sisters-in-law and so on. She's got to gain everyone's acceptance. When there are conflicts, she's the weakest."

Particularly in arranged marriages, where the husband may sense his wife is unwilling to be with him, resentment can build up, leading to arguments and violence.

Xu Rong estimates that 70-80% of suicides are the direct result of conflicts between husbands and wives.

No way out

Xie Lihua, editor of China's foremost women's magazine, agrees that traditional values are a problem.

"If a woman goes to live with her husband's family and they treat her well, or if she's found someone who loves and respects her, she'll be all right. If not, things will be very difficult for her.


In rural areas where social security is weak, sons are preferred to daughters


"This is because there's a saying among men that goes: 'marrying a woman is like buying a horse: I can ride you and beat you whenever I like'."

For most women there is no easy way out of an unhappy marriage.

Divorce would mean leaving behind the financial security of the family, casting them into an uncertain future.

According to Xu Rong, some women attempt suicide as a way of asking for better treatment from their husbands.

Other studies agree that many of the women who attempt suicide each year are attempting to gain some dignity - to bring home to others their sense of anger and frustration.

The government realises the extent of the problem.

For many years, marriage laws have made arranged marriage and bride-buying illegal. However, traditional attitudes are hard to change.


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