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In the liberation era, there was marked participation of women in the collective labor, contributing to the surplus production that helped the socialist state industrialize. Nonetheless, this period was also characterized by constrained continuation of patriarchal structure that stipulated the type and value of women labor (Hairong 580). At the juncture, women liberation was realized through the participation of women in labor as opposed to the arduous housework they undertook during the earlier days, but gendered division of labor remained intact. Nonetheless, Women’s voices were vociferous in the debates on new modernization policies, as women liberation was related to the defense of the nation (Rofel 43). The women in the later cohort were however more concerned about their personal welfare.
Women in the middle cohort are those who matured during the Cultural Revolution era. This group characteristically resisted authority and managerial authority in the industrial workplace. For instance, the cohort resisted younger supervisor Xiao Ma, whereby ignoring her authority was a significant political project (Rofel 222). By refusing the authority of a woman, the cohort essentially expressed its opposition to authoritarianism throughout the society. Workers rights were valued over the labor itself. Middle aged working women defied authority through activism and had extreme attitudes during labor protests. They were opposed to their management’s focus on efficiency by refusing to produce. Their refusal to remain in positions at the shop floor indicates defiance of state power; they exposed the symbolic violence in a natural economic order that is the mainstay of power in the post-socialist modernity (Rofel 19). Therefore, this cohort was against any form of authoritarianism in factory and in the country in general.
There is a similarity in the way the women
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