Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Gender and Gender Roles
(1,065 words)

Traditional Chinese society, was characterized by a system of sharply differentiated gender roles. Women looked after the inside affairs of the household and were confined as much as possible to the home while men were responsible for outside affairs. In peasant families this meant that men did most of the work in the fields and dominated in clan and village affairs. Women tended pigs and poultry, made clothes, fetched water, and prepared food. Men controlled commerce, business, and the governme…

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Davin, Delia, “Gender and Gender Roles”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 30 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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