Gender, Poverty, and Long-term Educational Attainment in China's Rural Northwest



This talk will discuss gender differences in the relationship between childhood poverty and educational attainment in rural China. The presentation will first describe a longitudinal study of children in rural Gansu, China that began when children were 9-12 years old and followed them into adulthood. The study collected extensive information about the major contexts of child development–family, school, and community. This approach allows for a broad conceptualization of childhood poverty. In addition, information about siblings permits consideration of how poverty relates to boys’ and girls’ outcomes differently within the same family. The presentation will then review evidence suggesting that girls’ educational attainment is more sensitive to poverty than boys’ educational attainment and discuss possible mechanisms behind this relationship.


Emily Hannum is Stanley I. Sheerr Term Professor in the Social Sciences at Penn. Current projects focus on childhood poverty in China, climate risk and childhood inequalities, and demographic decline and educational access. Recent publications include “Context‐relevant Risk and Protective Factors for Children in Rural Communities” (with Wensong Shen, Journal of Community Psychology), “Same Environment, Stratified Impacts? Air Pollution, Extreme Temperatures, and Birth Weight in South China” (with Xiaoying Liu, Jere Behrman, Fan Wang, and Qingguo Zhao, Social Science Research), and “Fewer, Better Pathways for All? Intersectional Impacts of Rural School Consolidation in China’s Minority Regions” (with Fan Wang, World Development).

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