Research reveals challenges facing Chinese girls (part 2)

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As mentioned in the previous article, researchers from Renmin University of China recently published a study analyzing the development trends of Chinese girls.

Education for girls

-Macro gender differences in education are gradually improving, but micro preferences for boys still exist

Women have long been disadvantaged in overall education opportunities and access. Although the gap in educational attainment between men and women has been eliminated, there are still many unbalanced and insufficient aspects in the development of girls’ education in China.

In terms of the education process, there are still obvious urban-rural differences in the quality of girls’ education and the human capital investment of families. Relevant studies at the county-level in Guangdong Province found that compared with boys, the educational aspirations and potential of girls are more likely to be ignored.

Why do boys have better access to family resources than girls? Recent studies have gradually shifted the perspective from class and family differences to the process of resource allocation within families, focusing on “gender differences among siblings” to further explore the causes.

-Gender stereotypes still exist in textbooks, and gender equality education needs to be strengthened

Gender stereotypes embodied and conveyed in teaching materials (cartoon books) have always been an area of ​​concern for education experts and gender researchers.

In the past 10 years, the analysis of gender images in textbooks has remained an important direction of gender studies in the field of education. For example, gender stereotypes in language teaching materials, such as having more male characters than female ones, portraying men as strong and women as weak characters, and normalizing the traditional division of labor between men and women.

Some studies further explore the negative impact of gender stereotyped textbooks on students’ gender equality awareness, future educational achievements and expectations, especially for girls.

-The discrimination girls face in STEM fields can exacerbate gender inequalities in the digital age

The problem of discrimination caused by gender stereotypes is even more serious in STEM fields that are crucial to the future development of girls. As the scientific and technological revolution has become the driving force of economic growth, all countries in the world attach great importance to the development of STEM, and practitioners in the field are often able to obtain a higher socioeconomic status. However, the lack of females working in the sector is an international problem.

With the advancement of research in this area, more researchers now believe that physiological factors are not decisive, and have started to pay more attention to the negative impact of gender stereotypes, such as “girls are not as good as boys in STEM fields”. In addition, the stereotypical ideas regarding gender roles held by students and parents have a significant impact on both male and female students’ mathematical abilities.

Survival and health of girls

-The highly skewed sex ratio shows improvement, and the research focuses on areas with a high sex ratio

According to data from the seventh national census in 2020, the sex ratio of the birth population in China was 111.3, a decrease of 6.8 compared with 2010, and the gender structure of the population continued to improve. However, the decline in the sex ratio at birth is uneven across the country, and many subsequent studies have focused on the spatial distribution of the sex ratio at birth and the analysis of typical regions.

-Research on both the basic rights of girls and the prevention of violence against girls

Recent research on girls continues to pay attention to the protection of basic rights and interests of girls in distress, and calls on society to pay attention to and protect girls. Meanwhile, the research also tends to provide reference for the formulation of prevention and punishment policies to address violence against girls, including domestic violence, school violence, sexual assault, etc.

-Gender differences in childcare

The influence of childcare styles toward girls and childcare resources on girls’ development has always been an important topic in the field of China’s children studies.

Although in recent years the country’s childcare concepts and methods have changed to a certain extent, and while the differences in childcare and upbringing styles received by boys and girls are gradually decreasing, the differences do still exist, and the concept of having a preference for boys is internalized in children’s caregivers.

Aid and support for girl’s development

In response to the disadvantaged situation of girls, a number of rescue and assistance actions have been carried out by the government, social organizations, and domestic and foreign enterprises. In practice, cooperation between different sectors has achieved certain results.

Government actions are mainly based on basic security guarantee and assistance. Social organizations play an important role in delivering services that help girls.

Businesses have been an important supplement in helping with girls’ development, mainly by funding social organizations to carry out girls’ assistance projects and setting up their own charity teams to carry out related projects.

Many international organizations have also paid great attention to the survival and development of Chinese girls, but their actions are mainly based on advocacy and macro guidance.