Increasing Women’s Participation in Village Government in China: Is It Worth It?
ABSTRACT: In the last three decades in China, few and declining numbers of women have participated in the main grassroots institutions of rural government, the village committee and the village branch of the Chinese Communist Party. This article examines a project aimed at addressing this problem, initiated in 2003 in Heyang county, Shaanxi, by one of China’s largest and most influential women’s nongovernmental organizations, WestWomen, together with the state-affiliated Women’s Federation. The article discusses the goals, strategies, and short-term results of the Heyang Project. It then discusses the longer-term potential of the Heyang model for achieving greater gender equity and