Front Cover
 Title Page
 Front Matter
 Table 1. Population of Hsin Hsing...
 Table 2. Work status of Hsin Hsing...
 Table 3. Primary and secondary...
 Table 4. Activities of unmarried...

Title: impact of development on women's work and status : a case study from Taiwan
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089947/00001
 Material Information
Title: impact of development on women's work and status : a case study from Taiwan
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Gallin, Rita S.
Donor: Marianne Schmink ( endowment )
Publisher: Michigan State University,
Publication Date: 1982
Copyright Date: 1982
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Bibliographic ID: UF00089947
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: 08856470 - OCLC

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Table 1. Population of Hsin Hsing by period, and age of residents
        Page 24
    Table 2. Work status of Hsin Hsing married women by age and family type, January-June, 1979
        Page 25
    Table 3. Primary and secondary activities of Hsin Hsing married women by age, January-June, 1979
        Page 26
    Table 4. Activities of unmarried Hsin Hsing villagers 16 years of age and older, by sex, location, and type of activity, January-June, 1979
        Page 27
        Page 28
Full Text





Rita S. Gallin, Ph.D.
Michigan State University

June 1982

Working Paper #09

Abstract: This paper is about women from a Taiwanese (Chinese) community
which, over the past 20 years, has changed from an economic system based
almost purely on agriculture to one founded predominantly on off-farm
employment. During' this period, women have moved from the domestic
sector to join the men of their families in the public sector. Yet,
their participation in work outside the home has not been accompanied by
a significant redefinition of their status. It is argued that the
women's failure to achieve personal autonomy and authority on the basis
of their "productive" labor derives from a system of patriarchal
capitalism in which traditional ideology maintains and reinforces the
subordination of women to the interests of the family, the state, and the
international market economy.

About the Author: Rita S. Gallin received her Ph.D. in Sociology and is
presently Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and Editor of the
Women in International Development (WID) Publication Series at Michigan
State University. Her extensive field research on socioeconomic and
culture change in Taiwan as well as her research on the sociology of
health in American society have led to numerous published articles in
journals and books.

Copyright 1982, MSU Board of Trustees



Published by the Office of Women in International
Development at Michigan State University and
partially funded by the Ford Foundation and a Title
XII Strengthening Grant

Rita S. Gallin, Office of Women in International Development and
College of Nursing



Marilyn Aronoff, Department of Sociology
Peter Gladhart, Departments of Family and-Child Ecology and
Resource Development
John Hinnant, Department of Anthropology
Mary Howard, Department of Anthropology
Susan Irwin, Department of Anthropology
Nalini Malhotra, Department of Sociology
Ann Millard, Department of Anthropology
Judith Stallmann, Department of Agricultural Economics
Paul Strassmann, Department of Economics
Joseleyne Tien, Department of American Thought and Language
Suzanne Van Wieren, College of Nursing
Barbara Rylko-Bauer, Department of Anthropology

Margaret Graham, Office of Women in International Development

EDITORIAL POLICY: The series of Working Papers on Women in International Develop-
ment publishes reports of empirical studies, theoretical analyses, and projects that
are concerned with development issues affecting women in relation to social, politi-
cal, and economic change. Its scope includes studies of women's historical and
changing participation in political, economic, and religious spheres, traditional
roles within and outside the family, gender identity, relations between the sexes,
and alterations in the sexual division of labor.

MANUSCRIPTS (in duplicate) should be submitted to the editor, Rita S. Gallin, Ph.D.,
WID Publication Series, Office of WID, 202 International Center, Michigan State
University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824. They should be double-spaced and include
the following: (1) title page bearing the name, address, and institutional affilia-
tion of the authorss; (2) one-paragraph abstract; (3) text; (4) notes; (5) refer-
ences cited; and (6) tables and figures. To further the rapid dissemination of
information, a timely schedule of manuscript review and publication is followed.

of WID, 202 International Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

MSU is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution



The publication of a special volume on development and the sexual
division of labor by Signs in 1981 speaks to the increasing interest in
and significance of the impact of development on women's work and status
(see Safa and Leacock, 1981). Articles in the volume highlight two ques-
tions that figure importantly in discussions of the issue: What is the
effect of the structure of world capitalism on the division of labor and
women's status? What is the relationship between patriarchy and women's
work and status? This paper presents material that may contribute to the
ongoing effort to answer these questions.

The paper is about women from a Taiwanese (Chinese) community which,
over the past 20 years, has changed from an economic system based almost
purely on agriculture to one founded predominantly on off-farm employment.
During this period, women have moved from the domestic sector to join the
men of their families in the public sector.2 Yet, their participation
in work outside the home has not been accompanied by a significant redefi-
nition of their status. It is argued in this paper that these women's
failure to achieve personal autonomy and authority on the basis of their
"productive" labor derives from a system of "patriarchal capitalism"
(Leacock, 1981:482) in which traditional ideology maintains and reinforces
the subordination of women to the interests of the family, the state, and
the international market economy.

The paper begins with a brief description of development planning in
Taiwan. Next, the nature of the traditional Chinese family is discussed.
Following this discussion, a history of development and women in the vil-
lage of Hsin Hsing is presented. Finally, in a summary section, the
reasons for the lack of improvement in the women's position within the
social structure are explored.

Development in Taiwan

When the Chinese Nationalist government retreated to Taiwan in 1949,
it found a primarily agricultural island marked by conditions not all
favorable to development. The strategies adopted by the government to
foster economic growth there have been documented in detail elsewhere
(Ho, 1978; Lin, 1973). Thus, suffice it to say that agriculture was
strengthened as a base for industrialization; a strategy of import substi-
tution was instituted for a brief period in the 1950s; and in the 1960s a
policy was adopted of industrialization through export with heavy reliance
on foreign capital and technology. In consequence, as Amsden (1979:372)
has noted:

Taiwan's political economy is a tableau of petty and profound
maneuvers of international diplomacy. Taiwan is a popular place
for the investment of foreign capital. Of all Third World coun-
tries, Taiwan's economy is also perhaps the most open to foreign
trade.... [D]evelopment and unequal exchange have occurred simul-
taneously in Taiwan, if unequal trade is operationalized as
adverse movements in the terms of trade. In only three years
between 1953 and 1973 did the net terms of trade turn in Taiwan's


To attract foreign capital, the government introduced numerous tax
incentives and established export processing zones that combine "the
advantages of an industrial estate with those of a free port" (Ho, 1978:
197). Nevertheless, although these measures undoubtedly helped to create
a favorable investment climate in Taiwan, the political stability (finan-
ced by massive U.S. aid) that ensured low wage rates there was more impor-
tant to foreign investors (Ho, 1978: 107-108, 239). Ho, in fact, believes
that two of the primary reasons for Taiwan's successful economic develop-
ment have been: (1) a cheap and elastic labor supply (1978:205, 258); and
(2) foreign capital (ibid.:lll, 117, 249).

The adoption of an export-oriented industrialization strategy produced
dramatic changes in Taiwan's economic structure: Agriculture's share in
national output declined and industry's rose.

By the mid-1960s, manufacturing accounted for over 20 percent of
Taiwan's GDP, and in 1973, 43 percent. The share of agriculture
in the GDP, on the other hand, declined sharply. Agriculture,
which contributed 35 percent of the real GDP in 1952, accounted
for only 11 percent of the real GDP in 1973. By the early 1970s
Taiwan was no longer an agrarian economy, although agriculture
still played a vital role (Ho, 1978:130).

As might be expected, industrialization brought about rapid urbanization.
Migration accounted for a major part of this urban growth because the
economic incentives to take off-farm jobs were powerful. Pressures of
population on the land had resulted in farms too small to support family
members. Additionally, differences in income derived from the agricul-
tural and industrial sectors were considerable.

Industrialization, however, was not restricted to only a few urban
centers. During the 1960s industry began to disperse to the countryside
to be near sources of low-cost labor as well as raw materials, and by
1971, 50 percent of the industrial and commercial establishments and 55
percent of the manufacturing establishments in Taiwan were located in
rural areas (Ho, 1976:17).3 This boom in rural industrialization
accelerated the shift of labor from agriculture, and the proportion of
farm households with members working off-farm in rural areas grew. From
1960 to 1970 the percentage of rural-based households that relied exclu-
sively on their farms for income decreased from 45 percent to 30 percent
and the percentage that earned more income from off-farm activities than
from their farms increased from 23 percent to 29 percent (Ho, 1979:88).

In summary, the decision of the government in the 1960s to emphasize
export and labor-intensive industry resulted in urban industrialization
and the stagnation of agriculture. In addition, by encouraging the dis-
persal of industries to Taiwan's largest source of low-cost labor, the
decision eventually resulted in rural industrialization. The responses
of farm households to these conditions varied, but most were consonant
with the traditional culture and Chinese family system.

The Traditional Chinese Family

In China, the economic family, the chia was (and is) the basic socio-
economic unit, "consisting of members related to each other by blood,
marriage or adoption, and having a common budget and common property"
(Lang, 1946:13). Such a family can take one of three forms: conjugal,
stem, or joint. The conjugal family consists of man, wife, and unmarried
children, although it may be "broken" and consist of childless couples,
unmarried brothers and sisters, or single persons (ibid.:14). The joint
family includes parents, their unmarried children, their married sons
(more than one) and the sons' wives and children (ibid.:14-15). The stem
family--a form that lies somewhere between the conjugal and joint family
types--consists of the parents, their unmarried children, and one married
son with wife and children. The family of this type, too, can be broken,
e.g., when only one of the parents is alive or the son has no children

Whatever form the economic family took, however, its basic features
remained the same. All members of the family lived under one roof, except
for a few who might work outside to supplement or to diversify the family
income and, therefore, lived away from home. Ideally, the family func-
tioned as a single cooperating unit in all its activities--economic,
social, religious, and other areas of daily living. Members of the house-
hold had clearly defined tasks, primarily on the basis of their gender.
The men dominated the public sector, working outside the home in the
fields or elsewhere. The women presided over the domestic sector, manag-
ing the household, servicing its members, and, not infrequently, engaging
in supplemental domestic industry. In other words, men and women per-
formed different tasks and occupied different space as members of a coop-
erative enterprise in which all property--for example, land, business,
house, equipment, or furnishings--belonged to the family as a whole.

Nevertheless, because China was (and is) a society with a patrilineal
kinship structure, only male children are considered to be descent group
members and to have rights to the descent group's, or family's, prop-
erty.4 Further, when a woman marries, she leaves her natal home to
live with her husband's family; postmarital residence is virilocal. In
other words, at marriage a woman severs her formal ties with her father's
family and becomes a member of her husband's family.

As might be expected, then, there was, and continues to be, a strong
preference for male children among Chinese families. Sons ensured the
security of the family through its growth and expansion and were a source
of support in old age. Daughters, by contrast, were a liability, drawing
resources while they grew and withdrawing any assets they held--such as
domestic labor power or wage-earning power--when they joined their hus-
band's families in marriage.

Moreover, as also might be expected, there was, and to a large extent
continues to be, a strong preference for arranged marriages--rather than
free-choice marriage--among the older generation. In part, control of the
choice of a son's bride was preferred because marriage was a means by
which additional labor power to maintain the economic unit was recruited.
Thus, parents wanted to ensure that criteria of strength, skill, and con-
scientiousness were used in the choice rather than criteria of beauty.
In part, control of the choice of a son's bride also was preferred because
marriage was a means by which a family established and cultivated social
relations that could serve as an important foundation for economic and
political activities (see Gallin, 1960). Thus, parents wanted to ensure
that familial criteria were used in the choice of a bride rather than
individualistic criteria.

In short, the birth of sons and the recruitment of daughters-in-law
were avenues by which the Chinese family hoped to secure its future and
to achieve upward mobility. A family that included many sons was more
able to diversify its economic base, through farm as well as off-farm
enterprises, than a family with few sons. A family that included several
daughters-in-law was more able to establish and cultivate instrumental
networks--and, of course, more able to produce and service economically
productive workers--than a family with few such women. The joint family,
then, was the economic family par excellence and the ideal--even though
it often could not be realized in practice as a result of internal family
conflicts born of economically based problems and general poverty.

Whatever form the family took, however, relations within it were
hierarchic, in part according to gender and, in part, according to age and
position in the family. The oldest male, most usually the father, served
as family head (chia-chang), managing the family "estate" and assuming
ultimate authority for all members of the family. The degree of his
dominance and authoritarianism, however, was influenced by the economic
condition of the family. When the financial contributions of the other
adult males were indispensable to the viability or functioning of the
family, the chia-chang might confer with them on important decisions, and
even yield to their wishes. When the family was economically secure, and
the chia-chang had complete control of the family's economic assets, he
was much more authoritative and domineering.

The wife of the chia-chang was responsible for managing the household.
She disciplined the children, using the threat of disclosure to the father
as the quintessential form of controlling behavior. (He tended to remain
aloof in most dealings with family members, rarely showing overt feelings
toward them.) Typically, the mother burdened her daughters with a good
deal of responsibility from morning to night. In contrast, she allowed
her sons much more freedom, not infrequently overlooking their misdeeds.
This disparity in treatment was intentional: The mother was training her
daughters for their eventual marriage and she was securing the love and
loyalty of her sons who were her future (see also Wolf's 1972 work on the
"uterine family").


When the children reached the age of marriage, it was usually the
mother who was most active in the negotiations, at least until it was time
to negotiate the balance between bride price and dowry. This was so
because she had a strong vested interest in the woman who was brought into
the family as her daughter-in-law. If the young woman was not tractable,
she might be unwilling to take on the household drudgery or to obey her
mother-in-law's commands. Ultimately, if she considered her mother-in-
law's demands too onerous, she might agitate for division of the house-
hold, thereby depriving the parents of their son's labor and, perhaps,
even loyalty.

Yet, despite the potential threat a daughter-in-law represented to the
unity of the family, she did relieve the older woman of many of the house-
hold burdens, and, not infrequently, was a source of companionship. More-
over, her presence in the household had both actual and symbolic value to
the older woman. Socialized and habituated from birth to accept her
inferiority and subordination to males, a woman not infrequently reveled
in the opportunity to exert control over the life of her daughter-in-law.
Further, after a lifetime of observing the "three obediences"--to parents,
husband, and sons--a woman, when she had a daughter-in-law, assumed a
dominant position in the superordinate-subordinate structure that ordered
all relations within the family.

It is not difficult, then, to see the implications of the above dis-
cussion for the position of women in China. Despite the fact that their
work was necessary for the maintenance of the family unit, their labor was
taken for granted, as natural to their female existence. Moreover, their
status was based not on their hard work and contribution to the family
enterprise, but in terms of their reproductive capacities. Women were
brought into the family for the purpose of bearing and rearing a new
generation and whatever their other achievements might have been, their
position in the family was dependent on their fulfilling this expectation.
In short, women had no real control over their lives; they were marked by
social and economic secondariness.

Development and Women in Hsin Hsing

Hsin Hsing is a nucleated village located beside the road that runs
between the market towns of Lu-kang and Ch'i-hu, approximately 125 miles
southwest of Taiwan's major city, Taipei. Its people are Hokkien (Min-
nan) speakers--as are most in the area--whose ancestors emigrated from the
Ch'uan-chou and Chang-chou areas of Fukien several hundred years ago. In
1958 the registered population of the village was 609 people in 99 house-
holds (hu) or economic families chiaa). Approximately four-fifths (82.8
percent) of this population was between the ages of one to forty-four
years and slightly less than one-half (48.7 percent) of the villagers were
male (see Table 1).

The majority of the population (55.0 percent) were members of conjugal
families. Only 10 percent were members of joint families and 35 percent
were members of stem families. Among families, the majority were of the
conjugal type. That is, 66 percent of the families were conjugal, 5 per-
cent were joint, and the remaining 29 percent were stem. Regardless of
family type, however, almost all village families in the 1950s were agri-
culturalists, deriving most of their livelihood from two crops of rice,
from marketable vegetables grown in the third crop, and, in some cases,
from farm labor.5

Land tenancy was widespread among villagers before implementation of
the Land Reform Program of 1949-1953, but decreased significantly there-
after. Prior to the land reform, 58 percent of the land was cultivated
by tenant farmers. In contrast, by 1957 only 27 percent of the land was
farmed by tenants. Despite this change in the tenancy/ownership ratio,
most families cultivated farms far too small to support all family mem-
bers, a consequence of a growing population on a relatively stable land

Villagers, however, had few alternatives besides farming because the
township in which Hsin Hsing is located had almost no local industries and
few job opportunities. Thus, they farmed "...with the help of simple
equipment and the labour of their families,...[producing] mainly for their
own consumption and for the fulfillment of obligations to the holders of
political and economic power" (Shanin, 1971:240). All family members were
expected to work and the work in which they engaged was based on sex role

Men most often worked in the fields, taking care of the heavier tasks
such as plowing, harrowing, transplanting, and harvesting, tasks women
were considered incapable of doing. In addition, some hired out as farm
laborers during the agricultural busy seasons, peddled vegetables during
the slack season, or migrated seasonally to cities to work as laborers.
Women, in contrast, managed the house and children, raised and cared for
poultry (men assumed responsibility for more valuable livestock such as
pigs and oxen), dried and preserved crops, helped with lighter agricul-
tural tasks such as weeding fields or drying rice, and, in their "spare
time," wove fiber hats at home to supplement the family income. (Only a
handful worked outside the home for cash, specifically a few unmarried
girls who worked in a sugar factory in the mountains.)

Children, too, were expected to work. But, in general, girls had many
more responsibilities than their brothers. The villagers believed that
if a girl was given too much freedom at home she would "...be unhappy when
she later married and finds she has a strict mother-in-law....[S]he must
learn how to work so her parents-in-law won't get angry with her. It is
also easier to marry her out if she learns to work well, since a boy's
family wants a good worker" (Gallin, 1966:201; see also Wolf, 1972).


Accordingly, girls from an early age on were expected to help with the
myriad tasks their mothers performed. The activities of their brothers,
in contrast, were less restricted and most did not take on substantial
responsibilities until they were 16 years of age when, in theory, they
were considered adults. Both girls and boys, however, were required to
attend school--six years of primary education was "compulsory"--and almost
all (86.3 percent) did; most villagers recognized the importance of edu-
cation, and, in fact, would have been pleased with the familial ideology
stressed in the school had they been aware of it. Nevertheless, parents
harbored some ambivalence about both the value and cost of education for
girls. As a result, only 80 percent of the girls attended school in con-
trast to 95 percent of the boys.

In short, during the 1950s, the allocation of social roles coincided
with traditional norms. Men and women both labored in an attempt to
maintain the family's solvency. The general rule for women, however, was
"up earlier and to bed later." Further, although boys and girls both were
expected to contribute labor to the family enterprise, girls were expec-
ted to contribute more than boys.

This situation began to change in the late 1950s and early 1960s as
the growing intensity of population pressure on the land created problems
of underemployment and farms too small to support family members. Given
the dearth of employment opportunities in the local area, increasing num-
bers of village males began to migrate to the larger cities of the prov-
ince to seek jobs and supplemental income.7

During the earliest part of the move outward, migrants tended to be
older, married men (see Gallin and Gallin, 1974). By the late 1950s and
1960s, however, they more often were young, single males. Some of the
married men who migrated early eventually brought their wives and chil-
dren to the city. Others, however, continued to maintain their families
in the village while they worked in the city. As a result, in 1965 the
resident population of the village was different in some--but not all--
ways from that of 1958.8

The size of the village population had remained fairly constant over
the seven years, that is, 509 people were estimated to live there in 1958,
while 506 people lived (and 612 people were registered) there in 1965.
In addition, approximately four-fifths (79.6 percent) of the resident
population was between the ages of one to forty-five years. The percen-
tage of population between the ages of 16 to 44 years of age, however, had
decreased during the seven years between 1958 and 1965 (see Table 1).
Further, the percentage of males in the village had dropped to 44.9 per-
cent and, more striking, only thirty-four percent of the 16 to 44 year old
cohort was male.

The migration of males to the city, then, left a cohort of women who
were required to assume responsibility for the family farm, in addition
to all their other traditional responsibilities. What this means is that
married women became farm managers. They hired people to plow, transplant

seedlings, weed, and if the men were unable to leave their work in the
city, to harvest the crops.9 In addition, they paid wages and arranged
for the payment of taxes and exchange of rice for fertilizer. Moreover,
they spent a good deal of time in the fields supervising laborers or
checking the flow of irrigation water. In other words, women moved from
an auxiliary to a main force within agriculture, participating in the
public sector formerly dominated by the men of their families.

The entry of women into the public sector, however, was not accom-
panied by changes in the structure of status and authority within the
family. There are two plausible explanations for this lack of change.
First, a woman's managerial labors were considered her contribution to the
family enterprise, her family duty (see also Scott and Tilly, 1975). But
because the livelihood of the family depended more on her husband's wages
than on the minimal profits reaped from the land, her work was considered
less significant and, therefore, not valued as highly.10 Second, the
"feminization" of agriculture meant a new sexual division of labor. But
because of the traditional view of the economic secondariness of women's
work, women's new role inherited this same evaluation and, therefore, was
not accorded esteem. Work as a farm manager, then, was a source of
neither power nor prestige for a woman.

It was not only married women, however, who took on new roles in
response to the withdrawal of men from the rural labor force. Their
daughters' lives were affected as well. Because their mothers were pre-
occupied with the farm, daughters were required to assume more responsi-
bility and more tasks at ages much younger than they normally would; some-
times they were kept so busy they could not attend school regularly. In
addition, because of most families' poor economic condition, daughters
began to be sent to the cities to earn supplemental income in the many
factories that burgeoned there in the early 1960s.

In part, parents were willing to send their daughters to work outside
because factories did attempt to serve in loco parents, providing dormi-
tories in which young girls were protected from sexual exploitation.11
In part, however, parents also were willing to send their daughters to
work outside because their remittances often were a major contribution to
the family treasury. Nevertheless, even though the work of unmarried
females not infrequently helped guarantee the family's economic survival,
they too continued to be defined by traditional norms and values.

The traditional definition of the status of unmarried women continued
for two reasons. First, daughters were fulfilling traditional expecta-
tions by working, that is, their work contributed to the maintenance of
the family unit. Accordingly, control over their wages and decisions
affecting their lives continued to be held by the parents. Second, the
value of their contributions to the family's economy was not considered
balanced by the costs incurred in raising and marrying them out. Accord-
ingly, in their parents' eyes they represented a drain on the family's
"fortunes" that might better be invested in sons.

In sum, women assumed new roles in the 1960s, but assumption of these
roles was not accompanied by new definitions of their place in the social
structure. The question is then: What was the experience of women dur-
ing the 1970s when the villagers' economic system was transformed? It is
to this question that I now turn.

In the 1950s, the bus ride from Lu-kang to Hsin Hsing was made on a
dirt road flanked by clusters of village houses, farmland, and one
"factory" that produced bricks. In 1979, the ride was made on a cement
road flanked by clusters of village houses, farmland, and over 30 fac-
tories. These factories were labor-intensive, relied on a cheap labor
force, and ranged from large establishments that manufactured textiles and
furniture, to medium-sized enterprises that built bamboo and wood prod-
ucts, to small satellite factories (or family workshops) that performed
piece work for larger firms. In addition to those situated along the
road, the area was dotted with other factories that also produced articles
for local and foreign consumption. Further, the neighboring township
housed a government-sponsored industrial park that was located six miles
from Hsin Hsing and was the site of the largest export shoe manufacturing
concern in Taiwan.

These factories, however, generated only a portion of the job oppor-
tunities available in the area. Still others were provided by the service
and retail sales shops and the building construction outfits that had
burgeoned in the area. In Hsin Hsing alone, seven small satellite fac-
tories offered employment to the members of the owners' families as well
as to unrelated villagers. In addition, three villagers operated artisan
workshops themselves or with the help of family members, and 26 villagers
operated retail nd service shops, small businesses, and itinerant market-
ing enterprises. 2

Given this rural industrialization, it was not surprising to find .that
the system of farming in the area had changed. In the 1950s, most farming
was done by hand labor, that is, by large numbers of men using simple
tools. In 1979, the need for either a physically strong or a large labor
force had been obviated by the modernization of agriculture. The intro-
duction of herbicides made it unnecessary for large numbers of people to
spend arduous and time-consuming labor weeding the rice paddies. Simi-
larly, the development of tube wells operated by diesel engines or elec-
tric motors did away with much of the heavy physical labor, as well as the
time constraints, involved in irrigating the fields. In point of fact,
only a few tasks involved in the cultivation of rice were done by family
members manually and these few were among the least strenuous in the
process--broadcasting seeds, pulling seedlings in preparation for trans-
planting, spreading fertilizers and herbicides, and irrigating.

All other tasks were performed by hired laborers, usually using
machines. Power tillers, operated by their owners, had almost completely
replaced the plow and water buffalo. Transplanting machines, manned by


their owners or hired specialists, had superseded family hand labor. And
harvesting machines, handled by their owners and their assistants or by
hired labor teams, had supplanted traditional exchange labor groupings.

A comparison of the structure of the village population in 1979 with
those of 1958 and 1965 suggests the way in which the villagers had
responded to these economic changes. The data showed that although 606
people were registered in the village in 1979, only 383 actually lived
there (see Table 1). Further, the character of the population resident
in the village had changed. The percentage of children 15 years of age
or younger had decreased, suggesting that villagers had modified their
reproductive behavior (see also Davis, 1963). Further, the percentage of
males in the village had increased to 50.9 percent of the population.
More striking, however, was: (1) that the proportion of villagers between
the ages of 16 to 44 had remained fairly constant; and (2) that males
comprised fifty-one percent of this cohort, a percentage approximately one
and one-half times greater than that found for males in this cohort in

This difference, in part, was an indication of the decreasing migra-
tion of men and the increasing migration of unmarried females to urban
areas. But, the difference also was an indication of the increased stream
of movement into the village by earlier out-migrants. Between 1945 and
1969, 45 of the several hundred persons who had migrated had returned
permanently to the village. (Included among these 45 were many who went
to the city as seasonal workers and several others who simply did not like
life in the city and so returned to the village.) In contrast, between
1970 and 1979, thirty-eight migrants--almost as many in one decade as in
the previous two and one-half decades--returned permanently to the vil-
lage. In part, the return migration of these people reflected a response
to the availability of land as a resource to help support family members
during the resettlement period. But in part, the remigration of these
people also reflected a response to the intense competition and high costs
in the city and, as might be expected, the obverse in the home area.

Further comparison of the data suggests another way in which the vil-
lagers responded to economic development in the rural area. The distri-
bution of villagers by family type had changed considerably between 1958
and 1979; there were one-half fewer conjugal families and almost three
times as many joint families in the village in 1979 as there were in 1958
(conjugal: 33 and 66, respectively; and joint: 13 and 5, respectively).
Obviously, economic development had not been inimical to complex family
organization in Hsin Hsing.

There are two plausible explanations for this finding. First, the
number of joint families had increased because villagers believed that
this type family was an excellent mechanism for socioeconomic success in
a changing world. Economic diversification and extensive relationships
with people outside the area still were considered requisites for achiev-
ing wealth and social status. Thus, a family that consisted of many
potential workers, as well as other members who could perform tasks


necessary for the functioning of the family (for example, management of
the household, supervision of children, or care of the land), had a better
chance of diversifying economically than did a family of small size.
Moreover, a family that consisted of several daughters-in-law had more
opportunities to establish and cultivate instrumental networks than did a
family of small size. In short, the large joint family was seen as an
avenue by which prosperity could be secured.

Second, joint families managed to maintain themselves as single units
in Hsin Hsing by consciously modifying the structural arrangements of the
family. Traditionally, income earned by family members became part of a
joint treasury and was used to support the individual members of the
larger unit. Cohen (1976) and Yang (1945) have pointed out, however, that
opportunities did exist for individuals within the large family to accum-
ulate private money for use by their own conjugal rights. Sons might do
some "trading" and retain any profits if they borrowed money on their own
credit and took all responsibility for whatever risks were involved (Yang,
1945:79). Wives could retain the money they brought to their homes as
brides--that is, sai-khia (Hokkien) or szu-fang-ch'ien (Mandarin)--and any
funds they were able to earn during times over which family control did
not extend, for example, the periods before breakfast or after supper when
there was no family work (Cohen, 1976:181; Yang, 1945:79). Ideally all
earnings became part of a common coffer, but in practice private money or
sai-khia could be accumulated by individual members (male or female) of
the family. Nevertheless, traditionally the practice had been discouraged
"by the family at large" because it threatened its unity (Yang, ibid.).

In Hsin Hsing, however, not only was the practice encouraged in the
late 1970s, it might be said to have been institutionalized. A joint
treasury, controlled by the father (chia-chang), was maintained and used
to cover the cost of gifts and medical and household expenses (for
example, food, utilities, and taxes), to provide capital to begin b.usi-
nesses, and to pay all educational expenses (be they for grammar school,
high school, college, or apprenticeship training). But, the contributions
of family members to this treasury were neither equal nor total. Only the
chia-chang continued to deposit all of his earnings, if any, into the
common coffer. Married sons deposited only a portion of their wages or
business profits into the family treasury and daughters-in-law contributed
none of their earnings to the joint coffer. What this means is that sons
were permitted to keep some, and their wives all, of their earnings as
savings for future ventures and/or investments and as funds for the
clothing and recreation of their own conjugal units.

Moreover, daughters-in-law were encouraged to engage in remunerative
activities during the time traditionally reserved for activities on behalf
of the larger family. (Indeed, village families reported that they wanted
their sons to marry women who had work experience so that they were
equipped to re-enter the labor market after marriage.) This was so
because parents realized that such activity furthered the achievement of
the ultimate objective of the family, the postponement of its premature
division. Permitting a woman to earn money in order to provide for the


personal needs of her family mitigated potential conflicts over perceived
economic inequities, traditionally a cause of early family division.
Further, permitting a woman to earn money in order to provide venture
capital and savings for her individual family strengthened its self-
sufficiency and prepared it to assume economic independence. In short, a
phenomenon (i.e., sai-khia) formerly viewed as a potential threat to
family unity, in 1979 was used as a mechanism to foster its unity and
continuity. (See Gallin and Gallin, in press, for a more detailed dis-

That this modification in the arrangements of the joint family was
common in Hsin Hsing can be seen from the fact that almost three-quarters
(70 percent) of the women who were under forty years of age and members
of joint families engaged in remunerative activities (see Table 2). These
women were able to work because their mothers-in-law assumed some of their
role responsibilities, for example, supervised their children or worked
the family land. By contrast, women without available mothers-in-law were
far less likely to engage in remunerative activities. Only one-third
(33.3 percent) of the women who were under forty years of age and members
of conjugal families worked for salaries or wages.

It is obvious, then, that the existence of a supportive family struc-
ture in which mothers-in-law take over some of the younger women's domes-
tic tasks has a direct impact on the work access of women. Accordingly,
the modified joint family had become a strategy adopted by some villagers
to attain the ultimate goal of the family, the development of the economic
potential and security of each conjugal unit within it. The attainment
of this goal, however, was, in no small part, at the expense of the
daughters-in-law (and to a lesser extent the older women) who: (1)
assumed double work loads; and (2) achieved security only in the social
mobility of the family.

Village families, however, employed a variety of strategies during the
1970s to promote their well-being. Wives of those men who no longer con-
sidered farming as either their primary or secondary activity (16.4 per-
cent) increasingly took to the fields, replacing their husbands as the
primary agriculturalist in the family; land usually was not allowed to lie
fallow because it was a source of food, i.e., rice, and additional taxes
were imposed on fields left uncultivated. Further, to the extent that
working was compatible with their child-care responsibilities, married
women increasingly entered the wage-labor market to earn supplemental
funds for the family.14

The movement of women into the public sector in the 1970s can be seen
from the fact that only one-third (32.9 percent) of the married women in
the village identified their primary activity as housekeeping, their
traditional task (see Table 3). The remainder, with the exception of two
older, retired women, identified their primary activity in terms other
than traditional ones. Approximately two-fifths of the married women
(39.9 percent) identified their primary activity as work for remuneration
(i.e., wage laborers and entrepreneurs), and one-quarter (25.9 percent)


identified their primary activity as non-remunerated work in the public
sector (i.e., farmers and assistants in a family business). While it
might be argued that farming and helping with a family business fall
within the traditional definition of the female role, nonetheless, it is
a fact that such activities were traditionally considered secondary to
women's primary responsibility for the management and maintenance of the

Given the fact, then, that married women in the 1970s assumed new
roles, one might ask: Was this change accompanied by changes in the
structure of their relations with men? The answer is no. Male authority
was evident in all walks of life in the village. For example, while men
had considerable leisure in the evening, women carried on time-consuming
household activities. In addition, men were served their meals first and
women ate whatever was left over. Further, men continued to be the
primary representative of the family at public events such as village
meetings or public religious rituals. Women might have done most of the
work for and participation in such rituals, but it was only the men who
planned and performed the ritual in the role of shamans or priests.

It was not only in situations internal to the village, however, that
male authority was evident. It was evident in situations external to the
village as well. Earlier it was seen that five married women were engaged
in entrepreneurial activities. Three of these women operated satellite
factories in which the products of larger firms were assembled; a fourth
operated a large piggery; and the fifth operated the village barber shop.
All of these enterprises were located in the village. Yet, with the
exception of the barber shop, their operation required that the women go
outside the local area to negotiate the terms of their responsibilities
and the sale of their products. The women, however, did not do this;
their husbands did.

There are several explanations that could be given for this phenome-
non, and two were offered by the women's husbands. First, women lack the
knowledge and skills required to negotiate "good terms with experienced
businessmen." This explanation might be correct. Yet, the fact that the
women were able to hire and supervise staffs of workers does suggest that
they were not totally lacking in negotiatory skills. Further, anyone
familiar with female shopkeepers in China can attest to their well-honed
bargaining skills. Second, women have no independent means of transpor-
tation to travel to the sites where they must deal with other business-
people, that is, they "do not know how to operate a motorcycle." This
explanation was being offered by a husband when his wife drove up on one
of the five motorcycles owned by the family; he amended his statement by
explaining that his wife had just learned how to drive the vehicle.

Third, interaction with businessmen outside the local area enhances
the danger of promiscuity among women, particularly in a society in which
business negotiations not infrequently are transacted in wine houses.
This explanation was not offered by the husbands of the entrepreneurs.
Yet, it is reasonable that husbands might be mistrustful of situations


that exposed their wives to such interaction with unrelated males. As a
result, the husbands might well have assumed responsibility for maintain-
ing contacts and dealing with the businessmen with whom their wives had
to interact.

In sum, the assumption of new roles by married women during the 1970s
was not accompanied by appreciable changes in their status relative to
men's. In large part, women continued to function under traditional norms
of subordination, secondariness, and dependence, despite the fact that the
success of their families depended upon their efforts and skills. Their
burdens were heavy; they played a dual role and worked harder than men.

It was not only married women, however, who took on new roles in
response to economic developments in the area, as well as elsewhere in the
province. Their daughters also increasingly entered the wage-labor
market. Four-fifths (80.6 percent) of the unmarried females in the vil-
lage worked for salaries or wages in 1979 (see Table 4). Approximately
half of these women worked in the local area (51.6 percent) and half
worked in the cities (48.4 percent), principally in Taipei. (No doubt,
more would have worked outside had job opportunities not been available
in the local area.) Only a handful, three (9.7 percent), were still in

The brothers of these women worked as well. But an inspection of the
data shows that the work activities of unmarried males were different from
those of unmarried females. Although a majority (58.1 percent) of the
girls worked in factories, only about one-tenth (12.9 percent) of the boys
worked at such jobs (see Table 4). In point of fact, almost half (45.1
percent) of the single males either were skilled entrepreneurs or worked
at jobs that required skill or knowledge. Moreover, a greater proportion
of the unmarried men (22.6 percent) were in school or in training as
apprentices than were the unmarried women (9.7 percent). What this means
is that sons were given a different amount and kind of education than
daughters. More specifically, parents invested in their sons' futures by
subsidizing their higher education or training as skilled laborers. Their
daughters, in contrast, were sent to work at unskilled, low-paying jobs
in which their chances for advancement were negligible.

This disparity was mirrored in the disposition of the earnings of
unmarried daughters and sons. The wages of unmarried females were given
to their parents--with the exception of a small amount that was retained
as pocket money--either to supplement the family budget or to be invested
in money-lending clubs until cash was needed to purchase their dowries and
start their sai-khia. In contrast, although unmarried sons also were
expected to give a portion of their earnings to their parents (albeit a
smaller portion), few did. Moreover, few unmarried sons saved a portion
of the money they retained, as was expected, for use at the time of their
marriage. (One village mother complained to us--not to her son--that "he
treats his wages as if they were his sai-khia.")


The reasons for these differences are not difficult to unravel. Boys
remained in the family, and, therefore, an investment in their training
was an investment in the family's future. Girls, in contrast, married out
and, therefore, an investment in their training had little future value.
Further, by ending their training early and sending daughters to work,
parents garnered money that either: (1) could be used to support sons in
training; or (2) could be used to purchase more substantial dowries for
their daughters, thereby allowing the parents to negotiate marriage
arrangements and establish linkages with families of greater substance and
influence. In this sense, then, the earnings of daughters released money
from the family treasury--money that might otherwise have been spent on
them--for investment in the family's sons and future.

The seeming nonchalance with which most parents accepted the desul-
toriness of their sons in depositing portions of their earnings into the
family coffer also was a reflection of the permanent nature of boys. Sons
perpetuated the line of descent and, ideally, provided support for parents
in old age. Sons, however, armed with skills and knowledge (in many cases
acquired at their sisters' expense), no longer were completely dependent
on their patrimony; they were able to sell their labor power and, if they
wanted, provide for a life independent of the larger family unit. Accord-
ingly, they rarely were censured when they failed to meet expectations
about their contributions to the family treasury. Their good-will and
loyalties had to be maintained.

Daughters, in contrast, were remarkably compliant in giving parents
that portion of their wages that was expected. This was so because, for
most, work did not lead to autonomous decision-making or independence;
lacking skills and knowledge, daughters had few alternatives other than
marriage and family. Their jobs, however, offered little opportunity for
meeting young men and they continued to rely on the help of parents and
kin to find husbands. Further, the extent to which the families of their
future husbands provided social mobility was, in part, a function of the
size of their dowry. Daughters, therefore, turned over their wages to
their parents; they had few other options. Their hard work had not won
them equality of opportunity.

Summary and Conclusions

The subject of this paper has been the impact of economic development
on women's work and status. Anthropological and sociological data col-
lected over a 20-year period showed how peasant women who primarily per-
formed domestic roles based on traditional norms were transformed into
"workers" who played a significant role in the agricultural and industrial
sectors of the economy. It was seen that the 1950s villagers were tied
to the land and the allocation of roles reflected a dichtomy of public and
private domains; men worked outside the house, primarily on the farm, and
women presided over the household. By contrast, in the late 1970s, a
plethora of jobs were available off the land and the assumption of roles
was more fluid. Men were joined by women in the public sector, but the
corollary was not true. Men did not move into the domestic sector.16


The data showed that the entry of women into both the agricultural and
non-agricultural labor force reflected a response to both demand and
supply factors (see Tiano, 1981). During the late 1950s and 1960s women
were drawn into the agricultural labor force when men--plagued by problems
of underemployment, farms too small to support family members, and a
dearth of local off-farm job opportunities--migrated to cities to service
their growing populations. During the 1970s women were drawn into the
industrial labor force when the rural supply of workers was insufficient
to meet the needs of the labor-intensive industries that burgeoned in the

Familial considerations, in contrast, acted as supply side factors
that propelled women into the agricultural and industrial labor forces.
Unmarried daughters were sent to work to supplement the family income and
to subsidize the training of their brothers who were the family's future.
Married women were moved from an auxiliary to a main force in agriculture
to manage farms that, although not the mainstay of the family's liveli-
hood, provided food for consumption. Married women, in addition, were
pressed into remunerative activities to earn money either to guarantee the
family's economic survival or to advance its fortunes.

The data also showed that the legal and social changes that accom-
panied economic development did not appreciably enhance women's autonomy
and authority. Laws were enacted to alter traditional patterns of inheri-
tance and provide women institutionalized access to the property of their
family. Nevertheless, customary law continued a de facto practice and
women did not claim their inheritance. They accepted their dowry--to
which they made a substantial contribution--as their patrimony and con-
tinued to lack control over the means of production. In addition,
although married women "owned" their sai-khia--husbands have no rights to
their wives' private money--married women used their money to help support
or to provide venture capital and savings for their individual (conjugal)
families, not to promote their own economic independence. Similarly,
although women could sell their labor power they were fated to low-paying,
dead-end jobs because they lacked non-material resources such as knowledge
and skills. In point of fact, the women of Hsin Hsing continued to be
dependent on the family and their welfare and social standing were bound
up with its success.

Further, although a number of women joined the families of their
husbands by "free-choice" rather than being brought there by traditionally
arranged marriages, once women became members of their husbands' families,
their goals were defined for, not by, them. They were expected to conform
to traditional familial norms--to bear and rear children and contribute
their labor to the family enterprise. Despite the fact that their work
was necessary for the maintenance of the family unit--and was used as part
of the variety of strategies adopted by families to promote their well-
being--women's labor was taken for granted, as natural to their female
existence. In short, the women of Hsin Hsing continued to be members of
households, not individuals.


Was the lack of change in the position of these women in the social
structure a reflection of the persistence of traditional culture? There
is no question that women in Hsin Hsing continued to be viewed--and to
view themselves--as an input of labor to the household economy and a means
through which the family line was perpetuated. Continuities from the
traditional past, then, would seem to be a plausible explanation for their
subordinate position relative to men.

If, however, the norms and values of tradition continue to define the
status of women in a developing society such as Taiwan the question be-
comes: Why do cultural traditions persist? I would argue that they per-
sist because traditional ideology is congruent with the political economy
of Taiwan (see also Gates, 1979). Let me explain. Taiwan's economy is
dependent on foreign capital and trade; the government must maintain a
favorable investment climate--that is, political stability and low wage
rates--to ensure that capital is not driven to seek a cheap labor force
elsewhere. In addition, Taiwan's economy is inextricably linked to the
capitalist economy and, therefore, extremely vulnerable to international
market fluctuations. Accordingly, the government must maintain an elastic
labor force responsive to the demands of cyclical economic processes.

Women meet all the criteria defining the requisite labor force.17
First, they are a submissive and docile labor force, willing to accept low
wages and unlikely to agitate for increases in these wages. Second, they
are a minimally trained labor force, willing to accept the lackluster and
poorly paid jobs available in labor-intensive industries. Third, they are
a transient labor force, willing to accept low wages and unlikely to
remain long enough to demand higher wages and job benefits. Fourth, they
are a tractable labor force, willing to be drawn into or expelled from the
labor market according to the exigent needs of the capitalist economy.

Women manifest these traits because their lives continue to be gov-
erned by the precepts of the family. Socialized in norms of hard work,
responsibility, compliance, and subordination to the interests of the
patriliny, women accept the fact that they are expected to sell their
labor power to repay the costs of rearing and marrying them and of repro-
ducing the family group. Held responsible for the maintenance and ser-
vicing of the household, women accept the fact that they are expected to
carry the double burden of domestic responsibilities and public labor.
Provided with only a modicum of education and training, women accept the
fact that they are expected to seek security and upward mobility through
marriage and the advancement of the group's economy. Patriarchal ideol-
ogy, in sum, effectively maintains and reinforces values and behaviors
necessary for contemporary capitalism.

The position of women within the social structure, then, is not simply
a legacy of traditional culture. It derives from a system of "patriarchal
capitalism" in which women's subordination is reproduced to maintain and
justify the employment practices that underpin the political economy. To
ensure sustained production at low cost during periods of economic growth
and political stability during periods of economic recession, government--


through the educational system and the mass media--encourages an ideo-
logical environment that relegates women to menial labor and household
tasks. The marriage of patriarchal ideology and contemporary capitalism
allows the family, the nation, and the international market economy to
take advantage of women's unpaid-domestic and underpaid-public labor.
Development in Taiwan, then, has neither altered cultural definitions of
male and female roles nor transformed the structure of status and author-
ity within the family.



1. The research on which this paper is based spans a 20-year period of
work with Hokkien Chinese whose home village is located on the west-
central coastal plain of Taiwan. The first field research, in 1957-
1958, involved a 17-month residence in a rural agricultural village,
Hsin Hsing, and focused on changing patterns of peasant life within
the larger settings of regional and national development. This work
was followed by two separate studies, in 1965-1966 and 1969-1970, of
out-migrants from the area in which the social and economic correlates
of migration within the city and country-side were examined. The most
recent research, carried out during two months in 1977 and six months
in 1979, involved a return to the village area and focused on socio-
economic change within the context of global development. During
these field investigations, data were collected via anthropological
and sociological techniques, for example, participant observation, in-
depth interviews, surveys, census, and collection of official statis-
tics contained in family, land, school, and economic records. These
data provide extensive ethnographic and archival documentation of the
area over time, offering a dischronic view of the way in which these
people have responded to economic development and how their lives
have been affected by these changes.

The research was carried out in collaboration with Bernard Gallin,
Ph.D., whose insights have contributed immeasurably to my intellectual
growth. We acknowledge with thanks the organizations that provided
financial assistance over the years and made our several field trips
to Taiwan possible. Specifically, funding was provided by a Foreign
Area Training Fellowship, a Fulbright-Hays Research Grant, the Asian
Studies Center at Michigan State University, the Mid-Western Univer-
sities Consortium for International Activities, the Social Sciences
Research Council, and the Pacific Cultural Foundation.

2. Throughout this paper the terms domestic sector and public sector are
used to distinguish between the private context of household service
and the public context of income-generating work. As will be seen
below, however, the separation between the sectors never was as rigid
as the terms imply.

3. Ho's data are not disaggregated by location, but our observations
suggest that throughout the 1960s industry and commerce mainly pene-
trated towns and rural areas within commuting distance to cities, not
the more distant countryside such as the Hsin Hsing area.

4. Promulgation of laws both in Taiwan and the People's Republic of
China, however, have attempted to alter this traditional pattern of
inheritance and to provide women institutionalized access to the
property of their family of origin.


5. The two exceptions were the sons of a formerly large, landlord family.
One of these men was a physician who had received his medical training
in Japan during the 1940s. The other, his brother, operated a busi-
ness that he had established after his land was expropriated during
the Land Reform of 1949-1953.

6. In 1957, 45 percent of the village families cultivated below 0.5
hectares of land and 84 percent cultivated below 1.0 hectares. Put
another way, on the average 0.12 chia of land was cultivated per
person in the village.

7. The influx of Chinese from the mainland to Taiwan after the Communists
assumed power in 1949 created many service jobs that rural villagers
filled. Hsin Hsing migrants, men with little capital, low educational
levels, and few skills, were a part of this cohort.

8. Official township records were the source of the population figures
for 1958, while survey interviews provided the data for 1965 and 1979.
Not until the second field trip were complete data collected for both
resident and registered populations and thus official figures must be
used for this earlier period. Nevertheless, those data available for
1958-1959 indicate that approximately 100 male villagers were working
outside the village during that period. It is assumed, therefore,
that the official figures do not distort reality enough to make the
comparison unwarranted.

9. Women were hired primarily to weed fields, although male labor teams
hired to perform heavier tasks sometimes included one or two women.
A majority of such labor teams were from outside the local area.

10. Women's new agricultural role also was not recognized officially.
Their occupation continued to be listed as "housewife" in the offi-cial
records of the township and their husbands, who worked in the city,
were designated as "farmer."

11. Such a system served the factory owners' interests as well; housing
workers in dormitories helped control and limit the mobility of the
employers' labor force.

12. For a detailed discussion of socioeconomic changes in the village area
between 1958 and 1979, see Gallin and Gallin, 1982.

13. It is difficult to document the reasons for these centripetal and
centrifugal forces, but they undoubtedly are linked to international
and national developments. The oil crisis of 1974 and the world
recession and inflation of 1974-1975, together with the resultant
changes in the world market, momentarily slowed the pace of industri-
alization in the cities of Taiwan (Taiwan Statistical Data Book, 1979:
78). This forced some factories to shut down and others to cut back
production, at least temporarily. At that time, the rapidly increas-
ing costs of materials, land, and particularly urban labor, together


with a greatly improving province-wide highway and truck transport
system, spurred and made it desirable and profitable for businessmen
to seek out and take advantage of less costly rural land on which to
locate factories and a cheaper labor force to staff them. Concomi-
tantly, the implementation of the government's "Accelerated Rural
Development Program" created a climate in which farmers believed they
could derive benefits--increased income--from cultivating their land.
Further, the promotion of rural industrialization encouraged the
increasing establishment of factories in rural areas. In short, off-
farm job opportunities were created during a period when agriculture
was made a more profitable activity.

14. The proportion of married women working in the rural area is much
higher than in the city (see Diamond, 1979; and Kung, 1976), a result
of an imbalance between supply and demand in the countryside. That
is, the pool of available single women is small and the demand for
cheap labor large. Thus, married women are recruited into the labor

15. Since 1969 lower middle school education has been compulsory in
Taiwan. Most young people graduate at the age of 15 or 16 and the
majority immediately enter the labor force (see Diamond, 1979; and
Kung, 1976).

16. The only males ever reported to "keep house" were the earliest married
migrants. They quickly gave up this activity, however, when they were
joined by their wives or returned to the village. In the 1970s, mar-
ried migrants tended to be young and to be joined by their wives in
the city almost immediately after the move. Unmarried men who lived
away from home most frequently lodged with kin, usually a brother and
his wife, or with the "master" to whom they had been apprenticed.

17. My comments in the following discussion apply only to women who are
members of the petty bourgeoisie and proletariat. (For a discussion
of the role and status of women in the "new middle class"--i.e., that
class made up of white-collar workers, managers, and administrators
employed by the government or by private corporations--see Diamond,
1975.) According to Gates (1979:390-391), the petty bourgeoisie com-
prises approximately 47 percent of Taiwan's population and includes
almost all agricultural owner-operators and a large group of small
businesspeople and artisans. The proletariat makes up about 20 per-
cent of the population and includes factory hands, construction work-
ers, sales clerks, hired artisans, and landless agricultural workers.



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Table 1. Population of Hsin Hsing By Period, and Age of Residents

Age Period
1958 1965 1979
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent

1 to 15
Years of Age 269 44.2 237 46.8 151 39.4

16 to 44
Years of Age 235 38.6 166 32.8 129 33.7

45 to 64
Years of Age 90 14.8 78 15.4 78 20.4

65 Years of
Age and Older 15 2.5 25 4.9 25 6.5

TOTALS 609 100.0 506 100.0 383 100.0

SEX RATIOS 95 82 113

Sources: 1958, Household record book (hukou)
1965 and 1979, Field Interviews

, Pu Yen Township



Table 2.

Work Status of Hsin Hsing Married Women By Age and
Family Type, January-June, 1979

Family Type/Age Work Status
Working for Not Working
Remuneration for Remuneration Totals

Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent


20 to 39 4 33.3 8 66.7 12 100.0
40 and older 10 52.6 9 47.4 19 100.0


20 to 39 7 50.0 7 50.0 14 100.0
40 and older 3 16.7 15 83.3 18 100.0


20 to 39 7 70.0 3 30.0 10 100.0
40 and older 2 16.7 10 83.3 12 100.0

TOTALS 33 38.8 52 61.2 85 100.0

Source: Field Interviews


Table 3. Primary and Secondary Activities of Hsin Hsing Married Women By
Age, January-June, 1979

Activity Age
20 to 39 40 and Totals
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent

Primary Activity

Farmer 7 19.4 11 22.4 18 21.2
Housekeeper 10 27.8 18 36.7 28 32.9
Wage Laborer 13 36.1 15 30.6 28 32.9
Entrepreneur 5 13.9 -- -- 5 5.9
Helper Family
Business 1 2.8 3 6.1 4 4.7
Retired -- 2 4.1 2 2.4

TOTALS 36 100.0 49 100.0 85 100.0

Secondary Activity

Farmer 10 50.0 7 50.0 17 50.0
Housekeeper 6 30.0 6 42.9 12 35.3
Wage Laborer 2 10.0 1 7.1 3 8.8
Entrepreneur- -- -- -- -
Helper Family
Business 2 10.0 2 5.9

TOTALS 20 100.0 14 100.0 34 100.0

Source: Field Interviews

Table 4.

Activities of Unmarried Hsin Hsing Villagers 16 Years of Age and Older, by Sex, Location, and
Type of Activity, January-June, 1979

Type of Activity
Family Business
Sex and School and Entrepreneurial Factory Clerical and with Indefinite
Location Apprenticeship (Self-Employed) Work Skilled Labor Wages Totals
No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %


Local 1 6.2 -- 10 62.5 3 18.8 2 12.5 16 51.6
Non-local 2 13.3 1 6.7 8 53.3 3 20.0 1 6.7 15 48.4

TOTALS 3 9.7 1 3.2 18 58.1 6 19.3 3 9.7 31 100.0


Local 4 25.0 4 25.0 1 6.2 3 18.8 4 25.0 16 51.6
Non-Local 3 20.0 4 26.7 3 20.0 3 20.0 2 13.3 15 48.4

TOTALS 7 22.6 8 25.8 4 12.9 6 19.3 6 19.3 31 100.0

Fourteen young men serving in the army were excluded from the analysis.

Source: Field Interviews.

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