Girls’ education in China has come a long way in recent decades. The amount of girls at all levels of education is on the rise, slowly but surely closing the gender gap in schools. In some arenas, girls’ enrolment is even passing that of boys. Girls in rural areas of China, however, are still struggling with a lack of opportunity compared to their male peers. Here are 10 important facts about girls’ education in China.
10 Facts About Girls’ Education in China
- Girls are beginning to outnumber boys. As of 2009, girls exceed boys in quantity in junior college and undergraduate programs. Women in higher education have higher enrolment levels, accounting for 51.4 percent of total enrollments. About 50 percent of postgraduates in China in 2012 were women.These numbers speak strongly about how far girls’ education in China has come. In 1985, only 25 percent of those enrolled in secondary school were female. Now, women’s attendance is starting to prevail over men’s. With higher enrollment levels comes a more empowered and intelligent female population.
- Women are dominating across academic fields. The amount of women in science and math fields such as engineering and automation is growing annually. In China. there are now over 20 million women working in the fields of science and technology. This is considerable progress in mitigating gender stereotypes and in allowing women to fill high-power jobs, showing why this is one of the most important facts about girls’ education in China.
- Women in China have the help of numerous organizations. China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF) has been instrumental in uplifting the lives of women. For example, in 2017 CWDF hosted a charity competition in which female entrepreneurs enter their ideas for the chance to win investment funding.Although this is not academic education in the traditional sense, organizations like CWDF are promoting women’s creativity and innovation through programs like this. CWDF is just one of many groups that work to educate China’s female population outside of school.
- These organizations have made a tangible difference. Women’s Federations in China in the past five years have trained almost five million rural women and engaged one million women in entrepreneurial activities. Having access to these resources allows women to expand their minds outside of the classroom.
- Women are quickly closing the gender gap in illiteracy rates. In 1982 across China, the female illiteracy rate was 48.88 percent, whereas men’s was 20.78. While the current rates have improved significantly (about two percent for men and six percent for women), females are still behind men in literacy. However, women’s illiteracy rates have been falling at a faster rate than those of men. It will not be long until literacy rates between men and women are equivalent.
- Women are most disadvantaged in rural areas of China. As far as illiteracy goes, women living in rural areas have the highest rates. This is in great part due to the lack of access to good education in rural regions, specifically for young girls. If a family in a rural area can only afford to send one child to school, the boys are much more likely to be chosen than girls.
- Female teachers continue to face restricted career development opportunities. Women dominate the teaching profession in China, and most schools look to balance this out by hiring more men. A less qualified man will often get hired in the place of a well-qualified woman. Thanks to this, female teachers in China have a much harder time getting hired than men do in the same profession.
- Women have to get higher test scores than men to gain entry into university. In 2005, Chinese universities began responding to a growing number of female applicants by raising the standards for women in order to keep gender balances in schools equal. At the China University of Political Science and Law, the bar for men is 588 and the bar for women is 632. Unfair practices such as these get in the way of true progress.
- The average length of a woman’s education in China has increased. As of 2012, the length of the average girl’s education in China increased to 8.6 years. This is only 0.7 years less than the average man’s education in China. This means girls are getting more encouragement and support to stay in school longer than they have in the past.
- Progress in China’s education system for girls has led to many successful Chinese women. Of the 88 female self-made billionaires in the world, 56 of them are Chinese. Chinese women dominate the entrepreneurial world. This amount of success would not have been possible without the great strides that have been made in closing China’s educational gender gap.
As these facts about girls’ education in China demonstrate, it is a complex topic, but overall there have been massive improvements made in the system. This has led to a more prosperous female population in China and a more equal society for all.
– Amelia Merchant