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Women's Militia


Women's militia from Dongting Lake, 1978

Women's militia from Dongting Lake, 1978

An important aspect of female involvement in PLA work was membership of the people's militia, a type of volunteer defense corps, mainly organized in rural areas. In Southeastern China, in particular along the border with Vietnam, and along the coast of Fujian Province, located opposite Taiwan, these militia were engaged in active defense of the motherland against potential American aggression spilling over from the Vietnamese conflict, or Taiwanese actions aimed at sabotage.

Women's militia, 1963

Women's militia, 1963

Women's militia member from the Paracel Islands, 1975

Women's militia member from the Paracel Islands, 1975

Given the opportunities to display heroic behavior, and very much in line with Mao's exhortation that everyone should be a soldier, many posters appeared that were devoted to these women's militia members. The posters, usually set against a tropical background, not only show these women warriors, but also imply that such activities helped combating the pervasive feelings about gender inequality. Despite these aims of the posters, they continue to show male soldiers in command.

Strengthen military-civilian defence to defend the socialist motherland, 1976

Strengthen military-civilian defence to defend the socialist motherland, 1976

We all are sharpshooters, 1975

We all are sharpshooters, 1975

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