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Abstract

Since the passage of the Organic Law of Village Committees in 1987, direct election of village leaders has been conducted in China, and eventually reached a national scale after ten years’ experiment. However, rural women’s political participation is discouraged by the social and economic reality in the countryside. Taking a historical retrospect, this research project attempts to analyze the impact of Cultural Revolution and Economic Reform on rural women’s voting rates and representation in local governments in post-Mao China. The results show that these two landmark political and social transformation in the 20th century have reinforced traditional gender roles, excluded rural women from power, and posed additional barriers to their political involvement by introducing new problems such as landlessness.

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