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In this episode, since it’s International Women’s Day, I thought I’d interview my mum about the feminist movement in China and what it meant for her.
Key Vocab: 女权主义 (nǚquán zhǔyì)，男女平等 (nánnǚ píngděng)，同工同酬 (Tónggōngtóngchóu)，女权运动 (Nǚquán yùndòng)
今天是国际妇女节。在中国，至少在我还小的时候，我们通常管这个节日叫做“三八妇女节”， 因为三月八号嘛。直到今天之前我都以为International Women’s Day 是西方的节日，三八妇女节是中国的节日。没想到居然是同一个节日。
Kaycee：那首歌是《9 Million Bicycles in Beijing》，是吧。我小的时候很爱听这首歌。那好，那我们回到正题。首先，在你眼里，女权主义是什么呢 ？你是怎么把它定义的？
Kaycee: 再次谢谢我的妈妈，Summer老师，来跟我们分享她对女权主义的知识和想法。那么听众朋友们，你对女权主义又有什么想法或贡献呢？不妨来我的网站上来分享一下。 好吧，这周就先到这里，我们下周见。
English translation (as translated by Amber Godsland)
Hello, hi everyone, I’m Kaycee.
Today is “International Women’s Day“. In China, at least when I was younger, we often called this day “3.8 Women’s Day” because it took place on the 8th of March. Until today I always thought International Women’s Day was a Western celebration, and 3.8 Women’s Day was a Chinese one. I didn’t know that it was the same celebration.
Anyway, in today’s show we are going to talk about feminism.
Kaycee: First, I want to introduce my mum, Summer. Welcome Summer.
Thank you for coming today to share your opinions on feminism. This is still a controversial topic in this era. I’m very curious, twenty-six years ago, when you were young, what kind of environment did you live in? Why don’t you describe it for us first?
Summer: In China at that time, we didn’t have phones or computers and there was a song called “Nine Million Bicycles in Beijing”, which was a description of our time then. We all rode bicycles to work, or took public buses, or cars. They belonged to companies or factories, not privately owned.
Kaycee: That song “Nine Million Bicycles in Beijing”, right? When I was young, I loved that song. Okay, let’s return to the main topic. First, in your eyes, what is feminism? How do you define it?
Summer: When we think about feminism, there are two sides. One is the societal side. Feminism is equality between men and women. Equal work, equal pay. The other side is the familial aspect. Firstly, there must be freedom in marriage. Then, husband and wife having equal power over household decisions. Thirdly, treating children equally, regardless of their gender. In reality, I think, due to men and women’s many differences, biologically, psychologically etc., I personally think that true equality between men and women is impossible.
Kaycee: Okay, I accept your opinion. So, let’s go back to the past. In the U.K. the earliest feminist movement began in the nineteenth century, it started in 1803. In China, did this way of thinking start in that period too?
Summer: From current research documents, feminist movement in China started at the end of the nineteenth century, the beginning of the twentieth century. A whole one-hundred years later compared to Western society. As for the feminist movement in China, it was first promoted by progressive male intellectuals. They encouraged various progressive ideas, such as, equality between men and women, freedom of marriage, education for women, etc..
Summer: Coming to Mao Zedong’s era, with new China’s gender equality, equal work, equal pay, freedom of marriage and other legal policies, women were no longer dependent on male roles such as their fathers, husbands, sons, etc..
Kaycee: So, when you were born, feminism had already spread. Were you influenced by this feminist movement when you were younger?
Summer: Of course. When I was younger, I received the same level of education as boys. But, in my family, I still felt that there was a difference between boys and girls. Because I had an older brother, my brother was the centre of my grandmother and my parent’s attention. My brother was the focus. This made me feel that my parents thought my brother was more important than me.
Kaycee: So, do you think we have achieved gender equality now?
Summer: Women’s status no matter in society or in the family has improved a great deal. But like I said before, true equality between men and women isn’t possible.
Kaycee: So, you see, we are still discussing the topic of feminism today, do you think we need to continue this conversation?
Summer: In today’s society, women’s status at home and in society has improved. But I think there is still a lot of pressure on women. What we need to study in-depth is how to liberate women from such pressures.
Kaycee: Thanks again to my mum, Miss Summer, for sharing your knowledge and thoughts on feminism. So, listeners, what opinions and input do you have regarding feminism? You are welcome to share your thoughts on the website. Okay, we’ll finish here this week. See you next week.