China / Society

Gender gap in education markedly narrowed: white paper

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-22 11:38

BEIJING - The gender gap in education has been markedly narrowed as China has implemented a special policy to ensure school-age girls enjoy equal access to compulsory education, a white paper said on Tuesday.

The white paper marking the 20th anniversary of the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women that was held in Beijing, said in 2014, the net primary school enrolment rates of boys and girls were both 99.8 percent, meaning that China has achieved the United Nations Millennium Development Goals ahead of time.

Women now enjoy greater opportunities in junior high school education and above, particularly further education, said the paper.

China has set up special funds to reduce the number of illiterate women, it said, adding women's average years of schooling have increased, and the gender gap has narrowed.

The Sixth National Census showed that the average years of schooling for women over the age of six were 8.4 years in 2010, 1.3 years more than in 2000, and the gender gap had narrowed by 0.2 year as compared with 2000.

The paper also said more and more women have been receiving vocational education and skill training, adding that China launched a project to train farmers in new technology, a plan for cultivating highly skilled personnel, in addition to a number of training programs for improving the vocational skills of migrant workers, such as the Spring Tide Action and Sunshine Project, to meet the needs of different groups of women for their vocational development.

Women of ethnic minority groups, girls in remote poverty-stricken areas and other female groups now enjoy equal access to educational resources, the paper said.

China has been accelerating the construction of boarding schools in rural areas, thereby improving the study and living conditions of rural girls, it said, adding specific policies have been introduced to provide education for migrant children where they move.

China also attaches importance to special education, increasing disabled women's access to educational resources of various types and at all levels; as a result, disabled women have improved access to education, the paper said.

According to the white paper, principles and concepts of gender equality are gradually extending into teaching and scientific research. Gender equality has been introduced to some teacher training programs and normal school courses, in order to enhance teachers' awareness of gender equality, it said.

In 2014, the proportion of female teachers in institutions of higher learning was 48.1 percent, an increase of 18.1 percentage points over 1995, it said.

Women's studies continues to strengthen as a discipline in institutions of higher learning. Currently, more than 100 colleges and universities offer in excess of 440 courses on women's studies and gender equality, and the number of master's and doctoral programs on women's studies continues to grow, the paper said.

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