Understanding Gender Bias in China’s ESL

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HERE! Teacher Talks is BACK! Keep reading and see what Fernando brings to you in season two.

In this episode, Fernando proposes explanations for the marked gender discrepancy in China’s ESL. While most Chinese English teachers are female, the opposite is true when it comes to foreign English teachers in the country.

A 2012 study by Beijing Normal University showed four out of five teaching positions in urban areas were held by women.

In Fernando’s opinion, this has to do with two main factors: firstly, many Chinese men tend to develop oral skills late in comparison to women, and secondly, the modest wages paid to educators in China, which fail to lure male teachers into the industry.
Understanding Gender Bias in China's ESL
When exploring why the ratio of female to male foreign teachers is so unbalanced, Fernando did not find any studies on the matter, which is why he conveys the idea that China, not being a paradigm of gender equality, is simply tougher for females to adapt and succeed.

Understanding Gender Bias in China's ESL

In addition, he thinks female solo travelers may encounter parents and friends who may try to dissuade them from relocating to a faraway land such as China. Some may even ponder the difficulties with the prospect of having a relationship abroad, due to language barriers and cultural differences.

Having said all of this, Fernando notes that, in recent years, there has been an influx of Eastern European women in the city looking for better opportunities. And therein lies a key factor. Many foreign female teachers from other regions of the world may feel like the opportunities are not that appealing anymore.