Menu Close

Gender and Family Businesses in Rural China


Entwisle, Barbara; Henderson, Gail E.; Short, Susan E.; Bouma, Jill; & Zhai, Fengying (1995). Gender and Family Businesses in Rural China. American Sociological Review, 60, 36-57.


We investigate the roles played by women and men in the emerging private sector in rural China. Specifically, we explore gender and the allocation of labor in household-run businesses in the rural areas of eight provinces. Data collected in the China Health and Nutrition Survey (1989) indicate that households with a large pool of female labor are at no advantage in starting and running a small business; rather, business involvement depends on the male labor pool, especially the presence of older men. Furthermore, if a household runs a business, men are more likely than women to work in it. Men apparently have led the development and expansion of household business in rural China, while women increasingly specialize in agricultural activities. Possible reasons for these findings are discussed.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Sociological Review


Entwisle, Barbara
Henderson, Gail E.
Short, Susan E.
Bouma, Jill
Zhai, Fengying