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The stay-at-home generation

From CNN's Tara Duffy

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BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Angela Yang is part of a small new revolution in China -- the stay-at-home mother.

Chinese women have more and more career choices available to them. One generation on from building the new China in the Mao Zedong era, many are starting to take a break from the rat race in the Hu Jintao era.

Yang is one of these women and she treasures moments when she can play with her daughter.

So much so that two years ago, the former auditor quit her job to stay at home while she raised her daughter Qin Qin.

"I just felt the high pressure so I wanted to take a break to balance myself, so that's the reason I think. And during my stay at home, I feel very happy and my baby feels very happy as well," says Yang.

It is a dramatic shift from the generation of Angela's mother.

When Li Xiangui had Angela and her siblings, quitting work and staying at home just wasn't done.

"I felt I should work, and make a contribution to the country. This was when the new China had just been established. The view of my generation was that everyone should build this nation," says the now retired teacher.

The Chinese economy that she helped to lay the foundations for is now much more capitalist.

And thanks to economic reforms introduced in the late 1970s when Angela was six years old, she now has the luxury of not working.

While Angela takes time off, she still has a nanny to help take care of Qin Qin and household chores.

The nanny, 30-year old Qin Zhenying, put her own two children in the care of an aunt back in her hometown and came to work in Beijing.

"I hope my children study hard, not like me, and have good opportunities in the future. There are good aspects to being a nanny, but it is too hard. If you don't have an education, you feel ashamed of yourself," says Qin.

A good education and the strong work ethic instilled in her family made Angela's sister decide that going back to work five months after having her son was tough, but the right thing to do.

"If I work I actually can give my son a good concept of the society. Mom and dad still need to work, that's the reality, so when he grows up he will have this concept that both men and women have value to the society," says consultant Claire Yang.

China is now becoming a society that is more accepting of the range of career paths that women are taking, and the different choices in work and life.

There will no doubt be even more choices for Qin Qin and the next generation of Chinese women.


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