Family Planning in China essay

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The study analyses the links between women and family planning in China. It is extremely important to acknowledge the perception of Chinese women of how their lives have been affected by the government’s requirement to plan their families. Due to the adoption of a strong family program, one-child policy, and overall socioeconomic changes, the country has witnessed a rapid decrease in fertility, especially in major urban areas The research analyzed quantitative secondary sources of data. The research reveals that women are linked to family planning in China. In general, few Chinese women refute the fact that their lives were better presently than in the past.


The use of contraceptives and child bearing are among the most significant reproductive health decisions that many couples have to make. Family choices and decisions are most likely to meet these choices based on relevant and accurate information and are medically appropriate. However, these choices need to be informed. According to Arnold and Choe (34), family planning refers to the planning of when to conceive and use the birth techniques to adopt such plans. Nevertheless, family planning is often used as a synonym for the deployment of birth control. It is usually adopted by couples who want to control the number of children they wish to have, and pregnancy timing that is also known as spacing of children. Family planning might involve sterilization and pregnancy termination. According to Bloom and Williamson (67), it also involves raising children with techniques that need substantial amount of resources like time, financial, social and environment. China is one of the world’s most populated countries. In fact, the mentioning of birth control mechanisms, especially the one-child policy, draws the attention of an individual to China. In this regard, this research attempts to analyze the links connecting family planning and women’s lies in rural China.

Research Question

Do women have a role to play in family planning?

Literature Review

In the 1950s, family planning was only available in some urban areas in China. It received extremely little attention and was not widely adopted during the Cultural Revolution that extended from the around 1965 to 1975. A policy tailored to promote childbearing, spaced births and fewer births was instituted in the mid-1970s. However, the policy was widely adopted in some provinces than others. Since late 1970s, China has adopted the one-child policy, though the government has never forced couples to bear only one child. This policy has exceptions that enable some couples to have larger families.

Due to the adoption of a strong family program, one-child policy, and overall socioeconomic changes, the country has witnessed a rapid decrease in fertility, especially in major urban areas. According to Chang (5), the fertility rate declined from more than 6 children to about 2 children from 1950s to 1992. However, according to Hardee, Xie and Gu (68), this policy contradicts with their culture that highly values males over females. This therefore accelerates the impacts of son preference, especially in rural and agricultural areas.

The Chinese women have lived in a rapidly dynamic country and have witnessed family planning in a very different way than others in other parts of the world. While older women had little access to family planning, the middle-aged women were suddenly obliged to limit their child bearing in adherence to the goals of the government. The younger Chinese women have grown up with the one-child policy.

Research Methods

According to Killion (6), research methods are a crucial part of a research because it highlights the required information in assessing the reliability and validity of the study. This implies that integrating a well-defined description of a research methodology is extremely significant in affirming the reliability of the study.

Research design is a general plan highlighting the required steps in answering the research question. Research design takes two forms: qualitative and quantitative design. This study will deploy quantitative design, which implies that the conclusions were based on quantifiable data from secondary research sources. Secondary sources provide the findings of other researchers on the field of family planning. The secondary source used by this study was the work of Hardee, Xie and Gu (68)

Findings and Interpretation

Hardee, Xie and Gu (56) survey focused on three rural Chinese provinces: Jiangsu, Yunnan and Anhui. They surveyed women aged between 20 and 55 years. All the surveyed women were married since the mean age for marriage ranged from 21.4 to 23.6 years. UNFPA (78) found out that a larger portion of women in Jiangsu than in Yunnan reported being pregnant because of contraceptive failure.  Older women of different ages wished they had better access to family planning. 

According to the findings of Hardee, Xie and Gu (65), youngest Chinese women seem not to have used contraceptive. However, in their groups, they talked about how they acquired information on reproductive health.

Another significant finding is that the older Chinese women exhibited son preference. The grandparents seem to disseminate gender inequality by treating their granddaughters and grandparents differently. However, the present generation seems to treat girls and boys equal. This implies that grandparents will encourage their daughters to continue giving birth to many sons, compared to daughters. The present one-child policy seems to alleviate the problem related to son preference by encouraging giving birth to one child irrespective of a boy and a girl.


Few women refuted the fact that the lives of women were better than in other generation. However, the one-child policy of China places women, especially those in rural china, in a situation where they are pressured by the preferences of the society’s preference for sons on one side and government’s childbearing policies on another.

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