Girls' education in Hong Kong: Incidental gains and postponed inequality

Chiu Ling Grace MAK

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Similar to an international trend, Hong Kong girls have either caught up with or surpassed boys in access to education and academic performance. Such progress has been confirmed with systemic census and education participation data. However, there is little knowledge on how it has happened. Much has yet to be studied in two dimensions of the problem – girls’ subjectivities in terms of their gendered identity formation and its interaction with the public discourse on gender relations and educational provision, and the epistemological issues of gendering in knowledge acquisition and assessment. In this paper I examine girls’ participation in education in the context of policy and social development. Their gains in education are an incidental product more of uncoordinated policy and social developments than an ideology of gender equity. On the other hand, studies comparing gender difference in education tend to focus on the extent to which girls are catching up in enrollment and academic performance scores. A review of these studies raises questions on what is being compared, why, and whether numerical gender parity or a deeper sense of fairness is the ultimate objective of intellectual inquiry into the issue. There is a need to shift attention from the structural to the personal, such as the gendered nature of values and identity formation of boys and girls which impact on their educational participation, and the ways in which they negotiate with the social constraints as well as potential on gender roles.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


Mak, C. L. G. (2006, June). Girls' education in Hong Kong: Incidental gains and postponed inequality. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Gender Equity Education in the Asian-Pacific Region: Challenges and Possibilities in Gender Equity Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


  • Educational Policy and Management


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