Challenges and Changing Attitudes for Chinese Women Seeking PhDs

Challenges and Changing Attitudes for Chinese Women Seeking PhDs

Xi Lin (Auburn University, USA) and Barbara A. Baker (Auburn University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6912-1.ch073
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Despite ongoing challenges that hinder educational improvement and professional promotion, highly educated women are making significant contributions in China. Chinese women often experience discrimination and pressures during their educations and within university settings. They are sometimes overlooked for training opportunities and promotion, and they are frequently denied the same funding allocations as their male counterparts. The purpose of this discussion is to explore enduring attitudes that have historically led to these challenges and to enlighten those who are interested in the struggles, successes, and contributions of highly educated Chinese women.
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The Increasing Number Of Women In Education In China

Chinese women have long experienced discrimination and educational neglect (Du, 2004). In ancient times, women were allowed education only as related to family service. Family service education was intended to instruct women to become well-behaved citizens who would qualify as good wives, mothers, and daughters-in-law. They were not encouraged, and in some cases were forbidden, to gain knowledge in other fields that men were required to study. In the late Qing dynasty, women were granted a basic education through which they learned to recognize words and read common letters. However, it was not until the Industrial Revolution that Chinese women’s education significantly improved. After the eruption of the Industrial Revolution, early feminist ideas and social movements emerged in Europe, Great Britain, and the United States. These movements then gradually influenced China, where many began to fight for equal rights, especially in education. Then in the early 1900s, the number of private schools for women’s education increased rapidly, forcing the government to acknowledge the legality of the establishment of women’s schools (Wu, 2010).

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