Despite uncertainty, panic and recession throughout global markets, due to Covid-19, a whopping 456 Chinese men and women made the Forbes 2020 World’s billionaires list. Nearly 11% of the 2095 billionaires were female. Interestingly, 61% of the females that populated the list are Chinese. Mind-boggling for a country that was one of the worst places to be born female just over a century ago. Why were Chinese women unable to do this previously and what changed that enabled them to rise to such fame, status and wealth? Was it luck? Genetics? Fate? Or conscious and intelligent execution of a clearly articulated long-term vision? For the sake of context and understanding of the root cause of the problem, it is important to understand the origin of systematic, institutionalized and deep-rooted sexist ideologies and practices in China. It was Confucius’ philosophy of “filial piety” that helped maintain the patriarchal social order in China for thousands of years: it instructed that women must obey men, citizens must obey their ruler and the young must obey the elderly. Doesn’t this sound familiar to what we’ve been taught to believe and practice as a) Pakistani or b) Muslims? The Chinese leadership, however, realized early on that some of the values, beliefs, practices and traditions would have to be kept while others discarded and replaced with better ones. They realized that women ought to be emancipated rather than discriminated.In Pakistan, women constitute more than half of the country’s population, yet they are still financially dependent on men, discriminated against, unable to contribute anything to the country’s economy, and politically excluded. It is worth pondering – honestly – what kind of a society has resulted from beliefs and values we as Pakistanis hold on to and practice. Poor, mediocre, delusional, disconnected, egotistical and corrupt. This is a major reason – that we must understand and implement here in Pakistan – why China was able to unleash women’s true potential and eventually becoming a formidable world super power. Where did things start to change for women in China? They unlearned and abolished some of Confucius’ teachings, values and beliefs. Uncommon abusive practices like sale and purchase of women, wife-beating, footbinding and female infanticide were illegalized in 1902 by the Qing Dynasty leadership. This miraculous realization was just the beginning of an era that would transform Chinese women’s lives forever.Chinese people understood and accepted that since women are biologically and psychologically wired to improve and nourish their children’s lives, they can really use this natural advantage to fuel their own entrepreneurial ambitionPrimarily, this sparked a mindset change throughout the nation. How women were perceived changed. Chinese people understood and accepted that since women are biologically and psychologically wired to improve and nourish their children’s lives, they can really use this natural advantage to fuel their own entrepreneurial ambition. Moreover, women in China, since, are seen as partners not competitors, more superior – if not equal – than men rather than inferior, as friends not foes, as assets rather than liabilities and as symbols of pride and honour rather than shame and embarrassment. A few decades after the abolition of abusive and discriminatory practices against women, a series of successive pragmatic pro-women legislation – inspired by Western ideas – was structurally introduced by the Chinese leadership. These included a democratic social system, scientific orientation and altering family and marriage patterns. The reforms supported equality between women and men, free love and marriage, educational opportunities for women and labour force participation of women. In order to save Pakistan from further humiliation and to put the nation on the path to development, similar changes need to be made.Just to clarify – it would be a mistake to assume that in the past Chinese women were completely powerless and acquiescent to men. In fact in Chinese the word for “wife” is pronounced “qi,” meaning “equal.” Even Pakistani women are accustomed to exerting some power and influence some decisions within the family. Although a lot more needs to be done. Perhaps we will not be able to produce the kind of results that China has but we can surely do much better than we currently are. Saad Gul is an Islamabad based writer and entrepreneur. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.