Famous Women in Chinese History – Part 2

Famous Women in Chinese History – Part 2

Since there are so many important and famous women in Chinese history, we thought it wouldn’t be fair to cover this topic in just one blog post, right? In addition to that, International Women’s Day is not the only time to talk about famous (Chinese) women.

So, we decided to give more space to some amazing and badass women from Chinese history!

Famous Women from Chinese History – Part 1

Who did we talk about in the previous post?

We talked about the empress Wu Zetian, martial arts master Lin Siniang, one of the most powerful political figures from Chinese history, empress Dowager Cixi, a badass astronomer (and poet!) Wang Zhenyi and Hua Mulan, who may or may not have existed, but who brought bravery and hope to the people of China.

In this post we will talk about:

Women in Chinese History #6 – Song Qingling

Women in Chinese History #7 – Wang Xingjuan

Women in Chinese History #8 – San Mao

Women in Chinese History #9 – Qiu Jin

So let’s begin!

Women in Chinese History#6 – Song Qingling

Song was the second wife of an influential political leader Sun Yat-sen.

She herself became an important political figure after the establishment of People’s Republic of China – she was the Vice President of China (in the period from 1949–1954 and 1959–1975) and Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress

Song Qingling – an important political figure in the history of China.

(1954–1959; 1975–1981).

She fell out of favour during the Cultural Revolution (hey, who hasn’t?), but in 1972 she, alongside Dong Biwu, became the Vice President, which made them the de facto Heads of State of China.

DID YOU KNOW – She was fluent in English, since she was schooled in the United States of America.

The time she spent in the States influenced her greatly. She was also a vocal feminist who thought arranged marriage was a practice that should be abolished and that women were free to decide who to marry.

She also fought against the belief that women should follow the three obediences: to their fathers, their husbands, and their sons.

Women in Chinese History #7 – Wang Xingjuan

Wang Xingjuan is the founder of the first NGO in China which focused on problems women face in society.

She primarily worked as a journalist and editor and then, when she retired in 1988, she decided to focus completely on the empowerment of women.

DID YOU KNOW – She also organized the first hotline for women suffering from depression.

Famous women in Chinese History

Wang Xingjuan, founder of the first NGO in China which focused on problems women face in society, helped many women.

As it usually happens, women were the ones to suffer the most; a lot of women were laid off and did not know how to deal with this situation.

After a period when everybody had work and contributed to society, this was a completely new situation for many of them.

In one of her interviews, Wang said that during that period 60 to 70 percent of laid-off workers were women.

As a result form her work on the hotline, they realized that a large number of women had no one to turn to if they were victims of domestic violence, so they also worked on that problem and helped a lot of women.

How amazing is that?

Women in Chinese History #8 – Sanmao

Sanmao - Famous Chinese Women

Sanmao – Famous Chinese Women

Born in Chongqing Sanmao was a wandering soul.

She was a novelist, a writer and translator who unfortunately took her own life in 1991.

Born as Chen Mao Pian, she later adopted the pseudonym Sanmao, under which she is widely known.

She wrote autographical and travel novels, as well as comic books. She studied philosophy at the Chinese Culture University.

She also travelled extensively – she lived in Spain where she began her nomadic lifestyle.

She then travelled to Germany, the Sahara Desert, Canary Islands, as well as Central and South America.

And soon you will be able to read her writing about her time in the Sahara Desert in English (you can now pre-order San Mao’s Stories of the Sahara)! As you can imagine, we are beyong excited that San Mao’s writing has finally ben translated into English and that now even more people will be able to enjoy her work.

“When I first arrived in the desert, I desperately wanted to be the first female explorer to cross the Sahara. The thought of it used to keep me up all night”, she once said. And the thought that we will soon be able to read her words keep us at night. The book will be available in November.

Are you excited as we are? Do you want us to write about the book once it’s been published?
Let us know in the comments section!

Women in Chinese History #9 – Qiu Jin

Qiu Jin was a famous Chinese revolutionary and feminist.

Women in Chinese History

Famous Chinese revolutionary and feminist Qiu Jin.

She talked about women’s rights and claimed that women had the freedom to marry whomever they wanted, the freedom to obtain education and she also opposed the practice of foot binding (which she herself was the victim of!).

She fought against the strict Confucian norms which stipulated that women had to obey men and fought for the liberation of women.

She was arrested a couple of days before the planned Anqing uprising and was soon beheaded although she never admitted that she was involved in plotting the uprising.

A courageous soul who stood up for exactly what she believed it, despite knowing of the potential consequences.


And there you go! Four additional women in Chinese history who have done some amazing work.

To summarize, in this post we talked about:

  • The famous political leader Song Qingling,
  • The founder of the first NGO and the first hotline for women sufferring from depression Wang Xingjuan
  • San Mao, a famous writer and traveller, and
  • Qiu Jin, a famous revolutionary and feminist.


Famous Women from Chinese History – Part 1

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