China’s own version of the Vagina Monologues will encourage women to fight for equality.
Why we care: China’s social developments have lagged behind economic growth and women’s right have been left behind.
How we’re solving this: Using drama and gender education to promote awareness and understanding of the blatant discrimination and violence Chinese women face.
Although many people believe that economic prosperity leads to gender equality, women in China still face many more obstacles than men in accessing education, getting equal pay, and even owning land. Lax implementation of laws and traditional beliefs that regard domestic violence as a private affair, have made it very difficult for women to achieve equality. Rural women are especially vulnerable to forced abortions, losing their land, and unequal access to educational opportunities. The mainstream media and social dialogue do not promote public awareness of women’s equality or rights.
Theater has become an effective tool to spread awareness of the importance of women’s rights among urban and rural populations. Shanghai Nv'Ai Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (LBT) is leading the way in developing drama performances that promote social change and encourage dialogue on progressive and controversial issues. This year, the group will organize trainings and performances of the “China Vagina Monologues,” to educate the public on the reality of women’s lives in China.
Female activists and volunteers will participate in gender awareness theatrical trainings. Trained activists will organize local community workshops in isolated communities with discussions on women’s rights. The activists will collect accounts of domestic violence and discrimination in the work place and at educational institutions, and the stories will be reenacted in the group’s performances. Shanghai Nv'Ai LBT partners with other theatre groups, art galleries, and cafes, will ensure that even wider audiences will hear their message and confront violence and discrimination against women. Shanghai Nv'Ai LBT will also stream its performances online, hoping to attract an estimated 100,000 views.
“China Vagina Monologues,” is not just a play, but a toolset equipping women, men, and children with the awareness and communication skills to promote an understanding of what equality and prosperity truly mean.