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Choices and Constraints

Gender Differences in the Employment Expectations of Final Year Undergraduates in a University in Central China

Jian Zhu

This book seeks to investigate gender differences in final year undergraduates’ employment expectations of their starting jobs, including salary, occupational and working region expectations, and to identify factors that have contributed to gender differences in these expectations. It employs an on-site self-completion questionnaire survey and a follow-up semi-structured interview carried out in a university in Central China. The study adopts the conceptual perspective of ‘choice and constraint’, which means that male and female final year undergraduates are able to make their own choices towards employment expectations; however, their choices of employment expectations are limited by a number of constraints. Empirical studies find that there are gender differences in employment expectations. This study further reveals the influence of gendered economic roles, experienced or perceived sex discrimination in China’s graduate labour market job preferences and parents’ expectations on those gender differences in employment expectations.
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Chapter Two: Background of the Study

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← 8 | 9 → CHAPTER TWO

Background of the Study

2.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the background of the study, which is broadly related to the conceptual framework ‘choice and constraint’ that will be discussed in the following chapter. There are six points in this chapter, the first three of which are factors that may facilitate male and female final year undergraduates regarding their employment expectations; while the other three points mainly focus on factors constraining males’ and females’ employment expectations. This chapter will first discuss the factors facilitating choice; gender and China’s higher education system, the evolution of China’s employment policy for university graduates and China’s efforts to improve gender equality. After that, it will focus on the constraining items; gender differences in China’s urban labour market, the motherhood penalty and childcare, as well as gender ideology in China.

2.2 Background of the study

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