Empowerment in a socialist egalitarian agenda: Minority women in China’s higher education system

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Abstract

Socialist egalitarianism and empowerment represent two different routes for realising equality of group differentiation. The former is pursued through top-down enactment by state apparatuses, while the latter closely relates to autonomous social movements, such as those occurring in liberal democratic societies. Using the experience of minority women in China, the paper examines socialist equalisation through state education through the lens of empowerment. Higher education is drawing special attention because it is regarded as a strong path for addressing inequality based on gender and ethnicity, as well as promoting individual empowerment. The data were collected through interviews at three Chinese universities. Based on deconstructions of these two concepts, the paper suggests a complicated interweaving of socialist egalitarianism and empowerment. The experiences of minority university females are embedded in a matrix of empowerment, which is mediated by three patriarchal relationships (shaped by the state, the majority and males) in a socialist regime. Copyright © 2011 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-445
JournalGender and Education
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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Citation

Zhao, Z. (2011). Empowerment in a socialist egalitarian agenda: Minority women in China’s higher education system. Gender and Education, 23(4), 431-445.

Keywords

  • Empowerment
  • Patriarchy
  • Socialism
  • Women
  • Ethnic minorities
  • University