Introduction

Leaving China & the
Journey Across the
Pacific

Cultural Traditions

Women in Early
Chinatowns

Anti-Chinese Violence
& Women's Resistance

Chinese Women at
Work

Educational
Opportunities

Women in Cultural
Work

The Great Depression
and War

Conclusion

Additional Resources


 

 

CULTURAL TRADITIONS

This woman is walking with her child who is dressed for Chinese New Year. Child-care and preparation for traditional festivals were two major domestic tasks for Chinese immigrant women around the turn of the 20th century.
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-G4085- 0158

As Chinese Americans settled in the United States they often followed cultural traditions that they had brought with them from China. Moral and spiritual practices such as Confucianism had a profound effect on the lives of Chinese American women.

These traditions shaped ideas about the appropriate roles for women in their private lives, within their families, and in their increasingly public lives at work and in Chinatown. These cultural practices also affected Chinese American women’s bodies, as the centuries-old practice of footbinding endured in the United States, as well as in China, until the early 20th century.