Does the gender in scarcity receive preference or neglect?
In China, the gender ratio of undergraduate students is stable at about 47% for males, and that of postgraduate students is stable at about 49%. Among the top universities in China, due to the differences in subject settings, educational philosophies and cultural atmosphere, there is a diversity of gender ratios of students; furthermore, there are universities where the gender ratio is seriously imbalanced.
In terms of individuality, gender differences, as a common sense of gender research, have a significant impact on the achievement of college students; but focusing on the university as a whole, in the research field of China’s top universities, does the gender imbalance have an impact on the students? Will the gender minority students receive special attention? Or neglect? Then how does the impact occur? Specifically speaking, how are gender minorities specially cared for or ignored in the activities of study, student association, personal honor evaluation and so on?
In this study, two top universities in China were selected as samples: Beijing Aeronautical and Astronautical University with a male students ratio of 68.80% and Beijing Normal University with a female student ratio of 71.12%.
Because alumni’s achievements are largely influenced by gender differences in the work environment, this study only selects three achievement indicators of school students to measure gender differences in educational achievements: high-level scholarships, presidiums of high-level student organizations and the highest personal comprehensive honorary titles in school.
This study chooses the method of mixed research. To begin with, quantitative research is used to determine whether gender imbalance in universities has an impact on the achievement of gender minorities and how it affects them. Further, qualitative research is used to analyze how standard-setters, judges or interviewers care for or neglect gender minorities in the process of scholarship selection, association job election and honorary title evaluation.
The preliminary research reveals that the gender imbalance has an objective effect on the achievement of gender minority, and the impact mechanism is microscopic and unofficial.
The results of quantitative research show the following conclusions. Firstly, as for the achievement of scholarship selection, the gender ratio of winners is basically the same as the one of the overall school. Gender minorities are not particularly concerned or neglected as a result of the gender imbalance in schools. Secondly, as for the achievement of the election of high posts in high-level student associations, there are even cases where student organizations are completely led by single-gender students. The data show that the gender minority has been significantly neglected, but the conclusions drawn from qualitative research are contrary to this. Thirdly, as for honorary titles, the multi-year evaluations of each school are close to the result of a male-female ratio of 1:1, which means that the gender minority has received obvious preference.
The results of qualitative research show the following conclusions. Firstly, in the recruitment elections of student organizations, members of the incumbent presidium as the judges acknowledge that they actually intend to pay extra attention to the gender minorities, but as a result of the serious imbalances in the gender structure of candidates, the few boys/girls can hardly surpass the gender majorities in the election of BNU/BAAU student organizations, causing the judges “failing to be partial to them”. Secondly, in the honorary title selection, the judges, usually assumed by the middle-level leaders of the university, claimed that such honorary students as the “facade” of the school should be gender-balanced, otherwise it is not conducive to the image of the school to all students and the public, therefore they will be intentional bias towards gender minorities in the selection process.
The above conclusions are only initial research results. The follow-up study will select a university as a control group with a gender ratio close to the overall proportion of undergraduates in China; meanwhile, more comprehensive data will be collected and more abundant interviews will be conducted. More investigation and findings will be available to make the research more complete and the results more reliable.
Jinxi Xu has an M.A. in Education (PKU, 2018-Present), B.A. in Philosophy (BNU, 2014-2018), and B.A. in Education (BNU, 2015-2018). Research Interest in Higher Education Philosophy and Intellectual History.
To contact Jinxi Xu, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.