October 4, 2005

Women in China Embrace Divorce as Stigma Eases

Divorce was once a dreaded fate for women in China. Now, many younger urban women like Ms. Cai view it almost as a civil right, which has helped drive up divorce rates. One government study found that women had initiated 70 percent of divorce applications here in Guangdong Province, where the number of divorces increased by 52 percent last year.

For women, and for men as well, changing social mores have brought changing expectations of marriage. If Chinese couples once recited ancient vows "to remain loyal to each other even if the seas run dry and the rocks crumble," as scholars point out, these days bad food or bad sex is enough to end some marriages.

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