Girls in Gansu, China: Expectations and aspirations for secondary schooling
Gender stratification in education is declining in China, but some recent research suggests that girls' schooling is still vulnerable in poor rural areas. This chapter investigates girls' educational vulnerability in Gansu, one of China's poorest provinces. Specifically, it analyzes the Gansu Survey of Children and Families, a multisite survey that interviewed 2,000 rural children, along with their families, teachers, principals, and community leaders, in 2000 (when children were 9–12) and 2004 (when children were 13–16). Drawing on comparative and China-specific literature on gender and exclusion, we investigate several questions. First, do gender gaps favoring boys exist in enrollment, children's educational aspirations, and parental expectations? Second, are gender gaps in enrollment, aspirations, and parental expectations worse among the poorest children and families? Third, are girls' educational outcomes more sensitive to prior performance? Fourth, do characteristics of early homeroom teachers and early classroom experiences have different effects on outcomes for girls and boys? Our findings suggest that girls do not face substantially greater access barriers to basic education than do boys in much of rural Gansu.