A paradox in Hong Kong: A land of “abundant opportunities” with limited development in gender and education

Kit Wa Anita CHAN, O. Y. Beatrice LAM

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

This paper offers a critical review of research in the area of gender and education in Hong Kong, and suggests the plausible circumstances contributory to its impoverished development. While it is found that "gender" has been touched upon in diverse educational literature, the way the concept is conceptualised has been limited and there has been little or no mentioning of gender in teachers’ education in the territory. Gender is popularly used as a demographic variable and, at best, equated with sex roles. In both cases, the use of the concept is devoid of what we consider a more sophisticated understanding of gender as a social construction, as relational in nature, as entangled with power relations, which, in short, fails to explain how education and gender regulate. The relatively limited conceptualisation in the field of education can be explained in two main ways. First, there has been a lack of a dialogue between the educational literature and sociological literature in the territory, where the latter is comparatively more developed. Secondly and more crucially, the limited development can be partly to do with the fact that gender equity in education is deemed a non-issue in the local community. As studies have demonstrated, Hong Kong people embrace the society as openly egalitarian with abundant opportunities for social betterment, in spite of the social injustice that many encounter. Furthermore, the locals, especially the middle class, tend to resort to individualistic and privatised strategies when confronting difficulties and uncertainties, and more so when investment in their children’s education is concerned. Against a background of increasing educational privatisation, we argue for the urgency to have a more refined theoretical understanding of gender, a re-conceptualisation of the importance of schooling in relation to gender, and the execution of gender-sensitive pedagogies and teachers training in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Citation

Chan, A. K. W., & Lam, B. O. Y. (2009, March). A paradox in Hong Kong: A land of “abundant opportunities” with limited development in gender and education. Gender and Education in Hong Kong. Symposium conducted at the 2009 Gender and Education Association Conference: Gender: Regulation and Resistance in Education, London, England.

Keywords

  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG)
  • TDG project code: T3294
  • Period: TDG 2007-2008
  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG) Output

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