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Clear evidence of gender bias in Chinese academia: Survey


Beijing : China’s academic institutions experience a clear gender inequality and a majority of female professionals believe they are discriminated in their academic work and daily life, according to a survey.

The online survey conducted by a group of Chinese professors showed that only 25 per cent of 167 professors interviewed believe the gender ratio is balanced in their institutions, while 67 per cent ere of the opinion that the number of female professors is “quite low”.

“Most female professionals feel they are being discriminated against, while very few males feel the same way,” said Wang Liming, professor at the Life Sciences Institute at Zhejiang University and one of the survey initiators.

“This means that the discrimination is not a fixed policy or standard, but involves social judgments,” Wang said in an article published by Caixin.

The survey received at least 1,600 responses from more than 40 academic institutions within two weeks in November.

Fifty-eight per cent of female respondents said they had experienced gender discrimination in their academic work.

Sixty-five per cent of them said they were treated unfairly in their daily lives, while 67 per cent of male interviewees denied stereotyping in academic work, the survey said.

Eighty-two per cent of the males said they didn’t think they had discriminated against females in daily life, state-run China Daily reported.

“As female graduates probably need about four to five years to act as wives and mothers of one child – and now two children – certain hospitals refuse to recruit female graduates,” said Jiang Jun, 44, female associate professor and physician at Wenzhou Medical University’s Eye Hospital in Zhejiang province.

The survey found that 77 per cent of female professors believed that if they were males, their academic careers would have developed further, whereas 38 per cent of male professors thought their career paths would have hindered if they were females.

Only 20 per cent of females among the 1,075 students of both sexes interviewed said they would continue their academic careers, while 33 per cent of the males said likewise, the survey said.

Yan Ning, professor at Tsinghua University School of Medicine, said in an article published on WeChat that more female PhD graduates were being forced to give up their high-pressure research jobs for marriage and to have children.

“I’m very sad that more of my excellent female students have left their areas of research due to a social stereotype that women are needed more to take care of their families,” Yan, 38, said.

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