Zhenru Zhang

English 250

Gender Role on Education

         Throughout the history of the world, gender issue towards education has never been neglect by any culture in the world. Most people nowadays agree that male and female should get the equal opportunities to receive education. China has a culture that last more than 5000 years. The gender issue on education in China has changed from time to time.

         In ancient China, females are forbidden from receive any form of education, such as go to school, read books and orally education. Sewing skills, washing clothes, cooking meals, raising children and weaving are the most common skills that a typical ancient Chinese woman would possess. However, men can go to school as long as their family can support them. After graduation, they will take an examination. If someone luckily passes the exam, he will enter the political world and make a nice living out of it. One of the two main reasons for this kind of phenomenon is that in the feudal society, man is superior to woman. The patterns of gender roles orientation like "man is superior and woman inferior", have formed in the pre-Qin period. Men are in charged in most of the things, both outside and domestic. For example, men were intending to make big decision and receive education and women would be response for cooking and sewing.  

           According to Confucius, women were not equal to men and were not worthy to have literary and education(Pillai). This is the second reason. People were more focused on morality, people think read more book or gain more knowledge will make people’s mind more agile, especially for women. Reading will create many destabilizing factors. It will make people’s thoughts flooded, and then lose the control of intellect(檸檬の猪, 2007). So education was regarded as an extremely dangerous thing at that time. There are also exceptions, one kind is females from rich families or royalties can attend school and get educated. The other one is prostitute can get the opportunity to receive education.

           Due to the unequal treatment between man and woman, one woman in China took a huge step up attempting to stop, even reserve this situation. She is the famous Empress Wu, the only woman emperor throughout Chinese History who actually ruled the whole country for almost half of the century. Her father Wu Shihuo was one of the meritorious chancellors of the Tang Dynasty. Therefore when she was young, she read many books and received a good education from her father. They made the fundamental step of her being an empress. After she caught the eye of the emperor of that time, she became emperor Taizong’s concubine because of her beauty and intelligence. Of course she is not going to be satisfy with the status. Her ambition gets bigger and bigger and eventually became the empress of the nation. (PANDAJOJO, 2010)After she became the Empress, Wu Zetian Challenged the rule of Confucius, during her time, she elevated the position of women. The court scholars were asked to write biographies of famous women all over the world. (Anonymous, Chinese Acient Education, 2010)

           Empress has taken a giant leap in the gender equality. At the end of Qing-dynasty, as western culture invade into China, the obstinate thoughts of the Chinese people start to accept the concept of the western culture that man and woman should get the equal opportunities to get educated. The first change in women’s role in Chinese culture was during the public years. At that time, many cities were give opportunities for women to seek formal education, many women cherished this opportunity to study along side the males and this was a milestone for the women. The distinction between men and women is gradually eroding.(Anonymous, Women in Chinese Culture) In modern China, their are still have the prejudice that man would have the superior to woman, however, most people have the point of view that men and women are equal. No matter what gender one is, he or she would be treated the same to receive knowledge.

         In China, education towards gender roles has the tendency to be more and more equal. Everybody can enjoy a higher education nowadays without any gender prejudice. Even more, people can go abroad to improve themselves.




檸檬の猪. (2007 йил 25-8). Baidu Zhidao. From Baidu: http://zhidao.baidu.com/question/32969895.html?fr=qrl&cid=173&index=3

Anonymous. (2010). Chinese Acient Education. From chinatraveldepot.com: http://www.chinatraveldepot.com/C207-chinese-ancient-education

Anonymous. (n.d.). Women in Chinese Culture. From kwintessential: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/articles/article/China/Women-in-Chinese-Culture/1788

PANDAJOJO. (2010 йил 13-10). Empress Wu Zetian of Tang Dynasty. From TravelChinaGuide: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/history/tang/emperor_wuzetian.htm

Pillai, M. (n.d.). Women in Acient Chinese Culture. Retrieved 2010 йил 30-11 from Buzzled.com: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/women-in-the-ancient-chinese-culture.html


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