Chinese Girls can’t Catch a Break from the Womb to University

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 10th, 2012

Week in Review

Chinese girls just can’t get a break.  From the moment of conception it’s an uphill battle for them.  Because of China’s limit on family size and a culture that favors boys a lot of girls don’t make it out of the womb.  Those who do are treated as second class citizens.  In their families.  And in society.  Because Chinese culture just favors boys.  And now this.  Girls face another injustice for just being smarter than boys (see Bars should be lowered for boys in exams, lawmaker says by Gao Changxin and Wang Hongyi posted 3/9/2012 on China Daily USA).

A lawmaker’s proposal to give male students gender-specific education and easier access to college has sparked controversy.

Wang Ronghua, who is also director of the Shanghai Education Development Foundation, said male students are increasingly under-represented in the country’s leading schools and colleges, and are outperformed by female students in college entrance exams.

This under-representation, he claimed, will have a negative impact on the country’s science and technology innovation and international competitiveness…

The reason for that, Wang said, is that male students mature slower than their female counterparts in self-control and language abilities, which are emphasized in the current entrance exams.

Wang recommends that high school education should be more “differentiated” to give male students opportunities to develop their natural advantages in creative and practical skills…

Sun Baohong, a researcher at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said boys don’t do so well at school because they are generally spoiled by their families, as Chinese society traditionally has a preference for sons.

Talk about a political hot potato.  How does an American liberal feminist comment on this story?  Who supports affirmative action to increase the underrepresentation of black students in American universities?  Will they agree in an affirmative action program to increase the enrollment of underrepresented boys in Chinese universities?  Or will they oppose it?  While supporting that same policy in America?  A fascinating conundrum for the liberal feminist.  And one that would be equally fascinating to hear one respond to.

This is something that Condoleezza Rice can sympathize with as both a woman and as a black American.  Whose parents taught her she had to work harder than her white peers to get as far in life as they did.  And she did.  Without complaining about the injustice of it.  And look where it took her.  The fourth most powerful position in America in the presidential line of succession.  Secretary of State.  No small achievement.  For a woman.  Or a man. 

So why are the Chinese girls doing better than the boys?  For the same reason Condoleezza Rice had to work harder than her white peers.  Because her white peers were treated like Chinese boys where she grew up.  The deck was stacked against her.  While her white peers were spoiled by their families.  And by society.  But having to work harder made her smarter.  And more successful.  Just like those Chinese girls.  Who are smarter than the Chinese boys.  And these girls can be more successful one day.  If only they had the same opportunities that Condoleezza Rice had in the segregated South.

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