Nav: Home

China's two-child policy may exacerbate gender inequality

February 23, 2018

Since China ended its one-child policy allowing all families to have up to two children, an additional 90 million women have become eligible to have a second child. But new UBC sociology research suggests the new universal two-child policy could be negatively affecting women's status and gender equality.

The study, published in the Chinese Sociological Review, found that women with less marital power-- shaped by their relative income, resources and education-- had lower "fertility autonomy" and were likelier to succumb to pressure to have a second child even if they did not want to.

"When husbands have greater marital power, fertility pressure from the husband increases the likelihood that women intend to have a second child, despite the fact that they have achieved their desired fertility," said Yue Qian, the study's lead author and an assistant professor in the department of sociology. "In contrast, when women have greater power in a marriage, their second-birth intentions do not change with levels of fertility pressure from their husbands."

Using 2016 survey data, the researchers examined the fertility intentions of women who wanted no more than one child and already had one. Women were asked to indicate who had the greater power in their families: the husband or wife.

They found that self-reported power levels correlated to which spouse had more material resources, income and education, which in turn affected women's ability to stop having children when they no longer wanted any more children.

The findings have far-reaching implications for gender equality in urban China since motherhood is a major contributor to the gender pay gap, said Qian. Unlike Canada and many European countries that have generous family-friendly policies to encourage fertility and facilitate work-family balance, the Chinese government no longer provides welfare benefits such as childcare subsidies or publicly funded kindergartens. As a result, employment rates and earnings of mothers increasingly lag behind those of fathers.

"Our study suggests the two-child policy may exacerbate a vicious circle of gender inequality in post-reform China," Qian said. "Women's disadvantaged status in the labour market exacerbates gender inequalities in access to resources, and the fewer resources wives have relative to their husbands may diminish women's bargaining power, their ability to push for equality in the family, and their ability to stop childbearing when they don't want additional children, which may in turn jeopardize women's careers."

The researchers argue that more policies should be developed to lessen the disadvantages arising from childbearing that women face, and to enhance women's status in the era of the universal two-child policy.
-end-
The study was co-authored by Yongai Jin of Renmin University of China in Beijing.

University of British Columbia

Related Children Articles:

Do children inherently want to help others?
A new special section of the journal Child Development includes a collection of ten empirical articles and one theoretical article focusing on the predictors, outcomes, and mechanisms related to children's motivations for prosocial actions, such as helping and sharing.
Children need conventional CPR; black and Hispanic children more likely to get Hands-Only
While compressions-only or Hands-Only CPR is as good as conventional CPR for adults, children benefit more from the conventional approach that includes rescue breaths.
Cohen Children's Medical Center study: Children on autism spectrum more likely to wander, disappear
A new study by researchers at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York suggests that more than one-quarter million school-age children with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disorders wander away from adult supervision each year.
The importance of children at play
Research highlights positive strengths in developmental learning for Latino children in low-income households based on their interactive play skills.
Racial disparities in pain children of children with appendicitis in EDs
Black children were less likely to receive any pain medication for moderate pain and less likely to receive opioids for severe pain than white children in a study of racial disparities in the pain management of children with appendicitis in emergency departments, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
UofL offers vaccine trial for children with relapsed tumors at Kosair Children's Hospital
Children with relapsed tumors and their parents are finding hope in a Phase I research study led by Kenneth G.
Dana-Farber/Boston Children's opens immunotherapy trial for children with leukemia
Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has joined a clinical trial of immunotherapy for children with relapsed or treatment-resistant acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Children less likely to come to the rescue when others are available
Children as young as 5 years old are less likely to help a person in need when other children are present and available to help, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
IPT for children with anaemia
Researchers from Tanzania and South Africa, who are part of the Cochrane Infectious Disease Group, hosted at LSTM, have conducted an independent review to assess the effect of intermittent preventive antimalarial treatment for children with anaemia living in malaria endemic regions.
Safety first, children
Children are experts at getting into danger. So, how can parents help prevent the consequences?

Related Children Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Changing The World
What does it take to change the world for the better? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on activism—what motivates it, why it matters, and how each of us can make a difference. Guests include civil rights activist Ruby Sales, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, author Jeremy Heimans, "craftivist" Sarah Corbett, and designer and futurist Angela Oguntala.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#521 The Curious Life of Krill
Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World".