• ISSN: 2010-3646 (Online)
    • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Social. Scienc. Humanit.
    • Frequency: Bimonthly
    • DOI: 10.18178/IJSSH
    • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Paul Sudnik
    • Executive Editor: Ms. Yoyo Y. Zhou
    • Abstracting/ Indexing: Google Scholar, Index Copernicus, Crossref, Electronic Journals Library
    • E-mail: ijssh@ejournal.net
Home> Archive> 2021> Volume 11 Number 3 (Aug. 2021)
IJSSH 2021 Vol.11(3): 83-89 ISSN: 2010-3646
doi: 10.18178/ijssh.2021.V11.1045

Were Women “Free” to Divorce in China: The Impact of the Civil Code of the Republic of China Family on Divorce Disputes, 1929-1949

Hao Mingkang

Abstract—The 1930 law The Civil Code of The Republic of China Family, one of the important part of the Civil Code, gave husbands and wives the equal ability to invoke divorce proceedings in the Republic of China. But reality did not reflect the equitability of the law. This paper questions how free women were to invoke divorce proceedings. Many scholars have considered how the Civil Code was an improvement upon previous laws and provided women with many more rights than in the previous century. This paper challenges this narrative by examining publicized divorce proceedings in newspapers and archives in various places in China. It argues from 1928 to 1949 that despite the legal ability to do so, in practice many factors prevented women from making much use of this law. Women struggled with the high economic and time cost to get divorced. Importantly though it offered equitability to invoke divorce proceedings, The Civil Code did not erode the power of custom, the tradition of living within the husband’s family and the limited access of women to work and education, which restricted women’s ability to take advantages of the law. Only women with economic independence and social position were able to use this law to their benefit.

Index Terms—Divorce, equality, the civil code of the Republic of China family, the Republic of China, women.

Mingkang Hao is with the History School, Zhengzhou University, Henan, 450000, China (e-mail: Swandive99@163.com).

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Cite: Hao Mingkang, "Were Women “Free” to Divorce in China: The Impact of the Civil Code of the Republic of China Family on Divorce Disputes, 1929-1949," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 83-89, 2021.

Copyright © 2021 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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