Blog 3 Women in Prison Fare Better in China
Women’s treatment in prison is a global topic that has been neglected for a long time. The prison populations of women are on the rise around the world and agencies and governments are being urged to address these growing issues. In the United States females account for nine percent of the prison population while females in China account for six percent. One issue being debated is how pregnant women are being treated during childbirth. In the United States, women that go into labor but are still in custody are shackled during the actually labor and delivery. They are shackled because of the fear that they will try and flee during labor. Wang Jinling, one of China’s leading researchers of women in prisons, said in a telephone interview that “That’s just very, ah, very cruel. I’ve actually never heard of shackling a woman who is giving birth. It’s not done here. Well, America can learn from China on this.” Only 16 states have outlawed shackling women in the United States while it is not practiced in China. New rights to female prisoners are about to be passed in China. These new amendments would give more privileges with being pregnant, breastfeeding or the sole caregiver. Overall these new amendments are improvement over the old ones, the important note is that the language being used is changing. It is not that they are protecting women anymore but that women have rights.
Inequalities between China’s and the United States’ treatment of female prisoners shows us how complex inequalities can be. While we look and promote equality among men and women we also need to look at and promote equality all women in all countries. In Chapter 1 of Peterson Wunder and Mueller states the disagreements between groups over which set of values should dominate is considered a value conflict. In the United States 34 states still place value in putting women in shackles during childbirth. According to Wang Jinling of China, shackling just doesn’t happen there and she actually finds it cruel. Countries differences in values are where conflict occurs. Women’s rights vary greatly from around the world such as the rights women hold in the United States and the rights women hold in some Islamic countries. We need to start asking “ Who’s values, beliefs, ideals should we value?” and “ What makes our values better then others?”