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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Promote Democratic Citizenship among Rural Women: A Chinese NGO’s Two Models

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A Beijing-based non-governmental organization (NGO) strives to empower rural Chinese women and migrant girls by increasing their awareness of constitutional rights and promoting their capacities to exercise their civil and political rights. This article reports the NGO leaders’ perceptions of the goals, strategies, and challenges in their citizenship endeavor, and analyzes their educational activities in theoretical and cultural contexts. By reporting a tension between the two founding leaders and unpacking the different approaches they take to engaging rural women, we demonstrate how the conceptualization of human rights education in the rural Chinese context is influenced by three approaches to human rights—the Confucian emphasis of rites, the Western tradition of emphasizing law, and the “human functional capacities” approach—and how the implementation process is constrained by China’s political framework, the social conditions of rural women, and the NGO leaders’ vantage points.

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