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CHINA DAILY英文微信 2018-10-12 10:23


2018 is the centenary of the British suffrage movement, and, walking through the streets of London, I feel I’m constantly being reminded of this significant historical era.

From suffragettes-themed tours in the Museum of London to the posters in Waterstone’s bookshop, the legendary stories are sung with joy of how Emmeline Pankhurst, Emily Davison and their peers used radical tactics of protest, civil disobedience, and hunger strikes to win an equal voice for women.

Hearing many of these stories for the first time, I felt moved and amazed. Naturally, I also started to think about the heroines of the Chinese culture who have paved the way for a young girl like me to live with confidence and independence today. After some deep reflection, I must admit that the two ladies who have inspired me the most are my grandma and mom.

My grandma was born in 1932, as the fourth child in a poor rural family of 13. She lived at a time when basic food and medicine were scarce, and education was a luxury for most rural girls. Harsh living conditions encouraged her to develop emotional maturity and learn critical life skills at an early age.

For instance, at the age of eight, she endured the grief of watching her two-year-old sister die from illness in her arms. Hiding away her torn heart and sad tears, she knew that her priority in that moment was to comfort her mother and take care of her younger siblings.

In 1941, after much pleading, her parents finally allowed her to attend classes at a local primary school. She said those years were the best memories in her life, despite the physical demand. After classes every day, grandma would rush home to participate in the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, and to play with her younger siblings. It was only after putting her siblings to bed every evening that she could finally spare some moments to review her classroom notes and complete her homework.

Although grandma received no formal education beyond primary school, she never allowed that to limit her career. She later became an accountant in a factory and gradually learned the skills of the trade from long evenings of self-study and from watching older workers.

By the time my mom was born, in 1964, China’s standard of living and education resources for girls had much improved. Still, university was only available to a fraction of the population, so, after high school, at the age of 17, my mother started her first job, also as an accountant.
等到1964年我母亲出生时,中国女孩的生活水平和教育资源都有了很大改善。但依然只有一小部分人能上大学。于是, 17岁高中毕业以后,母亲就开始了她的第一份工作,也是一名会计。

She treated every task with incredible dedication and hard work. She was often the first to arrive and the last to leave, but never asked for any extra pay for her overtime. In fact, she was working in the office just as normal even hours before she gave birth to me. Two months after childbirth, her boss asked her to cut short her maternity leave because work needed her, and she happily obeyed.

Away from the office, mom looked after my father and me with devotion and love. She attentively nursed my father for years during his illness. During the years when my parents lived in an eight square meter flat with a single bed, she insisted that her husband sleep on the bed, even when she was pregnant with me.

Growing up, I have watched how my grandma and mom pursued their dreams with perseverance and wisdom.

They have never called themselves suffragettes or feminists, in fact I don’t think they even know what those words mean. Instead, they embraced life’s opportunities with enthusiasm, and willingly made sacrifices for people they love.

Living in the multicultural city of London, I feel that perhaps every girl around me has heroines in their own hearts, who they admire and draw inspiration from. Perhaps the centenary of female suffrage is a celebration not just for the British suffragettes whose names are inscribed in history, but the many unsung heroines of every culture, whose quiet courage has also empowered many young girls today.

英文来源:“CHINA DAILY”微信公众号
编审:董静 丹妮
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About the author & broadcaster

Cecily Liu is a London correspondent for China Daily, covering mainly financial news. She was born in Chengdu, grew up in New Zealand, and graduated from University College London with a BA in English Literature.
Contact the writer at Cecily.liu@mail.chinadailyuk.com





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