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from Nancy Lee Swann trans Pan Chao Foremost Woman Scholar of ChinaNew York Century Co 1932 pp 82-90 repr in Alfred J Andrea andJames H OverfieldThe Human Record Sources of Global History Vol 12d ed Boston Houghton Mifflin 1994 pp 148-53Andrea Introduction Education in the Confucian classics increasinglybecame one of several avenues to a position of social and politicalpower in Han China Confucian doctrine however did not accord women astatus equal to that of men because women were generally regarded asunworthy or incapable of a literary education In fact the Confucianclassics say little about women which shows how little they rnattred inthe scheme of Confucian values Most Confucians accepted thesubservience of women to men as natural and proper In their viewfailure to maintain a proper relationship between two such obviouslyunequal people as a husband and wife or brother and sister would resultin social disharmony and a breakdown of all the rules of proprietyYet this was only part of the traditional Chinese view of women BothConfucian doctrine and Chinese society at large accorded women as nothmothers and mothers-in-law a good deal of honor and with that honorcame power within the family structure In every age moreover ahandful of extraordinary women managed to acquire literary educations orotherwise achieve positions of far-ranging influence and authoritydespite social constraints The foremost female Confucian of the age ofHan was Ban Zhao ca 45-116 CE younger sister of the court historianBan Gu 32 - 92 CE Upon Gus death Zhao served as imperial historianunder Emperor Han Hedi r 88-105 CE and completed her brothers HanAnnals a history of the Former Han Dynasty which is generally regardedas second only to the historical work of Sima Qian Ban Zhao also servedas an adviser on state matters to the Empress Deng who assumed power asregent for her infant son in 106 CEMadame Ban was the daughter of the widely respected writer andadminstrator Ban Biao 3- 54 CE and received her elementary educationfrom her literate
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