China’s Low Fertility Rate from the Perspective of Gender and Development

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.8, 2018


China’s Low Fertility Rate from the Perspective of Gender and Development



Ji Yingchun and Zheng Zhenzhen


In order to gain a more objective and accurate understanding of the degree of acceptance, the influence and the actual effect of the universal two-child policy and the long-term trend of Chinese fertility rates, one must start with the institutional and cultural context of Chinese society, combining the social gender and development approaches to understand the complex social mechanisms underlying China’s low fertility. If, bearing in mind international theories and lessons, we examine China’s low fertility from these perspectives, we find that the key lies in the work-family conflict experienced by women. Devising public policies from a social gender perspective and encouraging the participation of multiple players, including government, society, business and both sexes, is a social mechanism for alleviating such conflicts, and promoting the Marxist gender equality ideology and abandoning traditional Confucian patriarchal ideas and familial thinking is the ideological basis for their alleviation. Given women’s dual roles in material production and social reproduction, promoting the simultaneous development of gender equality in the public and private sectors and alleviating women’s work-family conflicts will make a positive contribution both to maintaining a certain fertility rate and to economic development.