Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Natasha robinson
The impacts of population control on gender roles and female education in rural China Natasha Robinson
Shanxi Province•GDP well below average•Large coal mining industry•Large inequalities in wealthLi Ping Zhen, XiYangCounty•240,000 people•Surrounded by villages•3 hours by bus to city•Main crop is corn•Special Communist history
One Child Policy• Introduced in 1978• Limits Han urban couples to one child• Criticised for its effects on the female population – Female infanticide – Female abandonment – 117:100 Male:Female ratio (2000)
Considering that many familiesnow only have daughters, how have traditional gender roles been altered?
Education in China• Strong Confucian respect for education• Strong association between educational achievement and social status• Higher education is expensive• Entrance to university is exceptionally competitive• First generation to attend university• School day lasts from 7am-10pm
“If the students are not studying hard I oftentell them, “Look at your parents! They have apoor life, their clothes are old, they do not eatmeat often. They save all this money in orderto pay for your education!”” -High School English Teacher
“The teachers give us a lot of work becausethey want us to do well in the exams and havea good life. If we get a good education thenwe can get a good job and earn money tosupport our parents. Our parents had littleeducation. Their lives are very hard.” - High School Student
Count of SequenceRow Labels Town Village Grand TotalF 62 48 110FF 22 89 111FFF 1 8 9FFFFM 1 1FFM 2 15 17FFMM 1 1FM 34 125 159FMF 1 1FMM 1 1M 82 72 154MF 19 68 87MFF 3 3MM 9 52 61MMF 2 2MMM 1 1Grand Total 231 487 718
Supporting parents... Son’s role?• Strong traditional male preference – “Her name sounds like ‘Hero’ – so maybe her parents really wanted a boy.” – “Sons contribute more to the family”• Daughters support parents, but it is primarily the son’s duty (older generation) – Daughters support husband’s parents – E.g. Mama and Baba Zhang• OCP and economic growth are changing family dynamics...
Working Women• Living costs are rising – 400% rise in property prices in big cities over 4 years – Meat prices rising• Fewer children to financially support older generation• 3 month maternity leave• Women, especially only daughters, take greater responsibility for parents
“In China many people think that boys arebetter than girls. My parents used to thinkthat, but then I was born and they love mevery much. They think that I am lively andclever and can support them when they areold... it is a lot of pressure on me.” - Only daughter, 17 years old
“Before there was the One Child Policy in1980s, people had many children and so theycould not support their children. I had threebrothers and no sisters but my parents couldnot give us anything so we lived by ourselves.Now people have one child and so they cangive that child more money and resources.” - Song Bao Zhen, English Teacher
“If a family has only one child the child mustbe educated whether a boy or a girl becausethat child is the hope of the family.” -Female English Teacher