The Best Books about China: Part 3 Women’s Lives

What is the Chinese Dream of Women?

What is the Chinese Dream of Women?


“Women hold up Half the Sky,”

Mao Zedong said famously, but there are no women in the Standing Committee of the Communist Party today. These books take a look into the life of ordinary Chinese women. There are very successful female entrepreneurs in China nowadays, but I have yet to read a book about them. I prefer not to put “women books” in a separate category as this may put off people (yes conservative men, I mean you), but how can you understand China or its economy for that matter if you do not take the female perspective into account?

The Good women of China: Hidden Voices- Xinran
Chinese Oprah Winfrey, radio host Xinran, tells the riveting tales of women calling in to her late night talk show. Beautiful and heart-breaking stories.

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China- Leslie Chang
How do the girls who make your IPhone live and work, love and think? How a stolen phone may mean the end to your social life in a vast city like Dongguan, a manufacturing hub in Southern China. Former Washington Post correspondent delves into the life of factory girls. A novel doing something similar is Northern Girls by Chinese author Sheng Keyi, though the tone is completely different.

Wild Swans- Jung Chang
A real life story of 3 generations of women in 20th century China, connected to the broader historical developments in China in that period. The writer’s grandmother was the concubine of a general, her mother a high party executive.

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