Gender is one of the central organizing principles around which social life revolves. Gender imbalance in education is linked with social, cultural, historical, economic and political factors. Although there are a set of laws to protect women’s rights and the Chinese government has been improving the social status of women, emphasizing the equality of men and women in both public and domestic sphere, China is no exception in terms of gender inequality in education field and labor market. For example, some academic or career fields are highly dominated by one gender. Compared to higher education, vocational education is at a lower level in Chinese education system. Gender research in this field could shed light on gender equality in Chinese society. This study explores the factors which could have contributed to the gender imbalance in a vocational school in China. I investigated the influence from four aspects: family background, cultural factors, Chinese higher education expansion, and labor market, using the qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews.
The study concludes that the four aspects are inter- related and interact with each other. The family SES background and higher education expansion influence the attitudes of students and parents towards education and education return, especially in rural areas. Furthermore, the rural families seem to be influenced by traditional culture factors more than urban families. Gender stereotypes, gender inequity in culture and gender bias in labor market lead to the gender imbalance.