Higher Education Expansion and Women's Empowerment: Evidence from China
47 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2019 Last revised: 11 May 2021
Date Written: December 6, 2019
Empowering women and closing the gender gap are key issues for economic and social development. This paper explores whether higher education expansion could empower women by influencing gender norms and the level of gender equality in both the labor market and the marriage market. I evaluate the impact of China's higher education expansion since 1999. The results show that the reform significantly increases higher educational attainment for both women and men. However, women's gender-role attitudes tend to become less progressive after the expansion. The retreat in egalitarian gender views could be attributed to the findings that women's opportunities in the labor market become more disadvantaged relative to those of men. The results are significantly driven by married women and people who live in high sex ratio areas. The practical conditions that women confront in the labor market and households may shape their gender-role attitudes in the reverse direction.
Keywords: Higher education expansion, Gender norms, Gender inequality, Labor market, Marriage market
JEL Classification: I23, I24, J12, J16
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