Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


This thesis examines the British women’s missionary movement in Hong Kong and China from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century exploring the ways in which British women missionaries sought to define their relationships with Chinese women and girls. It examines the rise of the single woman missionary and considers how these new professional opportunities for women influenced the evangelical movement in China. The thesis analyses how missionaries framed Chinese culture and customs in a way that constructed Chinese women and girls as victims, thereby justifying missionary intervention into Chinese society. It pays particular attention to education and medicine as core elements of the missionary movement and considers how women positioned themselves within these projects. The thesis revisits the scholarship on the mui tsai controversy to locate the missionary within these debates. Overall this thesis seeks to reveal the personal nature of female mission and its impact on the wider missionary movement.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.