Most of you probably get the Beyonce reference in my blog post title, if not, all that needs to be said in order to make sense is that it is also the lyric in a song about progressive women being at the center of civilization. Moving forward, my blog this week focuses on a recent interview in Women of China with Sun Ping, Exec.Director at Renmin University Opera Center on the Chinese woman’s innately dominant role in Chinese public diplomacy. Although (according to Hofstede), China consists of a predominantly “masculine” culture with large power distances in societal hierarchies, Sun Ping’s sentiments help to reframe these sweeping cultural generalizations and unveil the contributions Chinese women provide in both the social and political infrastructure of the country. In a collectivist society like China’s, the importance of family and honor for one’s family takes immense precedence in their culture. Sun Ping places women at the core of this basic societal foundation: “If woman can endeavor in promoting morality and civilization of family, serious incidents will reduce in the society because a woman’s role is IRREPLACEABLE.” I believe the female tendency to have polychronic time orientation as well as greater realistic empathy have time and again shown how these predisposition can aid relationships building cross-culturally. Sun Ping’s interview concluded with her emphasis on making family as well as work, equally important priorities. The family unit social structure, high levels of collectivism and power distance, have been weaknesses in creating cultural synergy with cultures beyond China’s borders. However, the Chinese government as well as its many fine academic institutions are making large advances towards public diplomacy education AND implementation.
It was as recent as last week that Renmin University began a research institute on public diplomacy that brings together the university’s Schools of Communication, International Studies, Journalism, and the Peking Opera. This development reflects the country’s growing interest in enhancing not only their national image, but international diplomatic literacy as well. Sun Ping reiterates this growing interest and importance, but additionally, her emphasis on gender roles, I believe, is reminiscent of the continuity of strong cultural values which once kept women subservient to now be seen as a unique advantage.
Article link: http://www.womenofchina.cn/html/womenofchina/report/170878-1.htm