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Education and Gender Egalitarianism: The Case of China

Xiaoling Shu
Sociology of Education
Vol. 77, No. 4 (Oct., 2004), pp. 311-336
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3649392
Page Count: 26
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Education and Gender Egalitarianism: The Case of China
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Abstract

This study examined Chinese attitudes toward women's careers, marriage rights, sexual freedom, and the importance of having sons using a 1991 national sample of individuals and community-level data and through a series of nested multilevel models. Education influences gender attitudes in multiple ways at both the micro- and macrolevels. Better-educated individuals hold more egalitarian gender attitudes, and this positive effect of individual education is larger for women than for men, indicating a strong empowerment effect for women. Egalitarian gender attitudes trickle down through education, as individuals in communities with high education are socialized toward more egalitarian attitudes. Community education has a larger effect toward the egalitarian direction on the attitude toward the importance of having sons than on the attitude toward women's marriage rights, indicating that change in the latter attitude occurred earlier and has now spread via education. These findings show that education is a vehicle of socialization that is used by both the domestic power elite (the Communist Party) and the Western culture.

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