Yu Dan: Women Should Pursue Balance and Spiritual Growth

December 4, 2013
By Wang ChangluEditor: Zhu Yanhong

Yu Dan: Women Should Pursue Balance and Spiritual Growth
After the conclusion of the 11th National Women's Congress, in early November this year, Yu Dan , a famous professor at Beijing Normal University, talked about her opinions on women’s value in family and society, and the significance and importance of women’s spiritual growth.  [china-women.com]
After the conclusion of the 11th National Women's Congress in early November this year, Yu Dan , a famous professor at Beijing Normal University, talked about her opinions on women’s value in family and society, and the significance and importance of women’s spiritual growth.

In response to a question posed to her about the so-called trend of ‘women returning to the home’, Yu replied that "Women have never left the family, so there is no need to talk about 'going back home'." She explained that she thinks the question of whether a woman should choose career or family is like asking whether a woman should choose her right or left leg --- a ridiculous question since women need both to walk on.

"The four kinds of virtues often associated with women are social, career, family and personal virtues. I think that when a woman is personally virtuous then she will be a good wife, daughter and mother, meaning that she will have good family virtues. This will also naturally translate to good career and social virtues," Yu said.
"Sometimes, we are confused by false ideas, including the one that if a woman goes out to work and to seek her own career, she has to leave behind her feminine qualities. In my opinion, a woman should be flexible enough to shoulder the same responsibilities as men without losing sight of who she is as a woman. I don't think this is contradictory at all," added Yu.

"A woman who is still growing in her spiritual strength can create a balance among the four kinds of virtues and then is able to enjoy each minute of her life. The four virtues are in line with Chinese people’s spiritual growth needs, so it is important in helping us become more open-minded," said Yu.

On women's spiritual growth, Yu also has her unique opinions.

Yu said: "The evaluation standards for men in China have not changed much through the ages. For a man, if you make some contributions to society or the country or establish a successful business, you are applauded. The evaluation of a man is mainly based on social evaluation. However, the evaluation of a woman has changed dramatically. In ancient times in China, a woman's real life began when she got married and she was evaluated by her ability to be a good wife and mother. This was her biggest social role."

Yu believes that there is now no single evaluation standard that can be applied to modern women. The evaluation system now is multi-dimensional, which has led to a multi-dimensional balance. Changes in society have made it fundamentally important for women to grow and to develop mentally and spiritually.

This has two implications. One is that women should be capable of evaluating themselves. The second is that they should be capable of creating balance in their lives. Being capable of evaluating oneself means that a person should have clear and stable self-cognition, and being capable of balancing oneself means one should be able to create a life that one wants.

On the question of motherhood, Yu said there are several existing problems in the current situation in China.

"In China, there are many migrant workers who have left their children at home to find jobs in more developed areas. For these parents, they only see their children once a year at most, during the Spring Festival. I’ve seen many of them buy lots of toys and snacks for their children at this time to make up for not being with them throughout the year. But can this really make up for the time and affection lost? Even in the cities, so many parents are busy developing their careers that they hardly spend any time with their children. But nothing can replace a parent’s love and care," said Yu.

"Scientific research shows that if a child is separated for long periods from his or her parents and does not receive enough parental affection, it may have life-long negative effects on him or her. This may include a sense of insecurity and anxiety, and a lack of personal communication skills," added Yu.

Yu believes that gender equality is important, but does not equate to gender blindness. While it is important to ensure women enjoy the same opportunities and pay as men, society also needs to take into consideration the special needs of women, especially when it comes to child-bearing and motherhood.

"Consideration and respect for new mothers is an indirect expression of consideration and respect for the future generation. We should ask ourselves whether we have enabled mothers to realize their own dreams and carry out their responsibilities."

In conclusion, Yu believes that in these modern times, both women and society should try to adjust to the changes. Women should pursue balance in their lives and spiritual growth and at the same time, society and the government should create an environment that empowers women to achieve their dreams.

(Source: china-women.com/ Translated and edited by womenofchina.cn)

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