Lean In or Lean Back: Does Higher Education Empower Women?

Posted: 10 Dec 2019 Last revised: 20 Oct 2020

See all articles by Wei Si

Wei Si

School of Entrepreneurship and Management, ShanghaiTech University

Date Written: December 6, 2019

Abstract

Empowering women and closing the gender gap are key issues for economic and social development. This paper explores whether and how higher education can empower women. Taking advantage of China's higher education expansion in the late 1990s, I examine the impact of higher education on increasing women's educational attainment, reducing gender stereotyping, promoting women in the labor market, and changing outcomes in the marriage market. The results show that the reform significantly increased higher educational attainment for both women and men. However, gender ideology became more traditional, especially for women. The regressive gender attitudes could be attributed to the findings that women's opportunities in both the labor market and marriage market became more disadvantaged compared to men after the expansion.

Keywords: Higher education expansion, Gender norms, Gender inequality, Labor market, Marriage market

JEL Classification: I23, I24, J12, J16

Suggested Citation

Si, Wei, Lean In or Lean Back: Does Higher Education Empower Women? (December 6, 2019). ShanghaiTech SEM Working Paper No. 2019-006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3499450 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3499450

Wei Si (Contact Author)

School of Entrepreneurship and Management, ShanghaiTech University ( email )

393 Middle Huaxia Road, Pudong
Shanghai, 201210
China

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