It’s an old Chinese saying that women hold up half the sky but in Fujian province it seems there is a group of women who do more than their fair share.
In the recent past, with their menfolk traditionally at sea, the Hui’an women had to shoulder not only all the responsibilities of child care, and that of their elderly relatives, but also working the fields and housebuilding. In fact, in 1958 it was many young Hui’an women who build a large dam in the region – and which is named after them.
These young women are now involved in cutting, polishing and carving rocks, earning the same amount as their fathers and husbands. It is not surprising that they are known throughout China for their industrious and virtuous qualities. They’re also known for the distinctive clothing. Incidentally, they’re not a minority ethnic group but Hans.
They wear a yellow bamboo hat, a scarf which covers the lower half of the face, the top is short, and their black trousers baggy – and I would love a pair of their trousers!
I visit the Huihe Stone Cultural Park (plus museum, carving training centre and display park) in Quanzhou, and watch the woman’s cultural performance which tells the story of their lives in the fields and bringing up children. See it here … and apologies for the wobbly end -editing is a skill I must now learn! 🙂
We Christchurch women are proud that Kate Shephard, a Christchurch woman, was the prime organiser of the 31,872-signature petition (collected over seven years) and annually we have gathered at the memorial (cnr Worcester Boulevard & Cambridge Terrace) which depicts those wonderful women and the wheelbarrow in which the petition was taken to Parliament in Wellington.
Suffrage day is often also called White Camellia day, as women who supported enfranchisement wore a white camellia, yesterday women both wore the flowers and lay them at the wonderful memorial. The memorial was unveiled at the 100 year anniversary and a new camellia verity was also created then and named ‘Kate Sheppard’. Today we celebrate 120 years of all NZ women being able to vote.
So far, from my research, it seems only one of my ancestors, my great-grandmother Elizabeth Rowe, (married Herbert Bunny) signed the petition and during that same year, 1893, her daughter, Mabel, my maternal grandmother was born.
One of the great things about the 1893 Electoral Bill was passed was that Maori women were given the vote too … not just women with land. Unfortunately Chinese women, in fact all Chinese people, did not get the vote until the early 1950s.
Don’t waste the courage and strength of those brave 19th century women – make sure you always vote.
So many women’s travel pages feed on fear and concentrate on protection of our bodies and gear that if we followed them all we would never travel – of if we did, it would be with one eye over our shoulder always. Unfortunately this means we miss out on what’s happening now, right now which is the only safe and exciting place to live.
When I travel I rarely blog as I go; I’m too busy enjoying the place I’m at. I also rarely email home – my friends and family are happy to wait to get the whole story, not a blow-by-blow account of the back street I got lost in or the amazing meal I had at ABC. Others of course love to tweet and travel and isn’t it great that we are all different while being the same.
International Women’s Day celebrates 100 years today, and to mark the day I, and some 270 other men and women, attended a breakfast in the Banquet Hall of New Zealand’s Parliament Building: I was seated at the VTNZ table.