Separating Spheres: Cohort Differences in Gender Attitudes About Work and Family in China

Yue Qian , University of British Columbia
Jiaxing Li, Fudan University

We investigate whether attitudes about gender in China have changed across birth cohorts. Using data from the 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2015 Chinese General Social Surveys, we differentiate two distinct dimensions of beliefs about gender: gender equality in the labor market and gender roles in the family. Multiple linear regressions reveal continued increases in support for egalitarianism in the public sphere across cohorts, even after controlling for compositional change in successive birth cohorts’ sociodemographic attributes. In contrast, all else being equal, we observe rising support for traditional ideology about gender in the private sphere across cohorts. Moreover, women hold more egalitarian gender attitudes toward work and family, and this gender gap has widened among more recent cohorts. The results highlight the multidimensionality of gender and gender ideology in China. We conclude by discussing the findings in the context of the uneven gender revolution and two-sphere separation in contemporary China.

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 Presented in Session 17. Gender, Family, and Work