Divorce Law Practice and Gender Inequality in China

Project: Research

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Divorce law practice is at the heart of realizing gender equality. The existing literature, until recently, has rarely addressed this relationship, despite the fact that gender inequality is a grave social problem in contemporary China. This Project expands our preliminary research on the interplay between courtroom discourse and gender inequality to four places with representative profiles of different levels of caseload, education level, economic development, and institutional development. Through empirically examining the dynamics of court hearings and paying particular attention to courtroom discourse, this Project will identify how judges and litigants understand and make use of the family law. This focus on actual family court practices further allows us to explore the underlying social and cultural forces shaping the rule of law in China today. The findings of this Project will contribute to the scholarship on both law and society and law and language, including how gender hierarchy is contested, reproduced, and perpetuated in court, how ordinary people view the law and justice, and how the patterns of divorce law practice affect the realization of basic human rights. It will also generate policy recommendations for legal reforms in China and provide evidence for broader theoretical debates.


Project number9041932
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/148/06/18