The classical civilizations of China and India are similar in social inequality due to the treatment of women and every individual being given a role in society. They differ in the flexibility in the social hierarchy and the presence or absence of coerced labor.
China is similar to India in their treatment of women. India and China both treated women as subordinate to men. In China, the 5 relationships in Confucianism beliefs placed women on the lower end of the relationship. In India, women were denied reaching salvation. Widowed women were also required to do Sati, a ritual self-sacrifice of a widow following her husband’s death. After the fighting and struggles during the Warring States Period, Confucianism brought long-awaited peace through the use of the 5 relationships. The 5 relationships in China implied women were on the bottom end of the relationship, people were willing to follow it due to its positive outcome, while in the Indian social hierarchy, the Caste System truly left no work for women. With the shift seen in most early civilizations to a primarily male dominated society, women were merely expected to bear and raise kids and take care of the household.
However, China’s society differs from India in the available flexibility within the social hierarchy. Beginning in the Han Dynasty (China), there were opportunities for mobility through the creation of a new social class, the Scholar Gentry. Whereas in Indian society, the Caste System left no room for movement at all. Starting in the Han Dynasty, the influence of Confucianism was prominent through the creation of the civil service examination. In China, this ensured only those well-educated were given authoritative roles in government and thus created the scholar gentry class, however, in India, the belief in Karma and your positive or negative actions in your “previous” life determines your placement in the Caste System in your “next” life, prevented any mobility in the Indian social...
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