Well-educated Chinese women engaged in economic and social development are making greater and more significant contributions to the modernization of the country.
In feudal times, literacy was not valued in women and their major responsibility was caring for their husbands and families.
Statistics indicate that half a century ago, 90 percent of Chinese women were uneducated.
The number of educated women in China did not change significantly until after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Only then were Chinese women encouraged to go to school.
The present average number of years of schooling for girls over 15 is 6.5 years, one year more than in a 1990 survey.
The rate of increase is higher for women than that for men. The proportion of illiterate women has dropped dramatically. And the large gap between levels of education among men and women has been significantly narrowed.
In 1999, the proportion of girls receiving education in primary and middle schools and in post secondary institutions was 39.2 percent, 45.9 percent and 47.6 percent respectively.
There were 160,000 women teaching in institutions of higher education throughout the country, 37.6 percent of the total teaching staff in these institutions.
Increasing access to higher education for female students has laid a solid foundation for women to take part in the country’s economic development and public administration.
There were 62 female academicians in the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering by the end of 1998, a higher number than in any other country.
Also, 13.83 million women officials were working in government offices, state-owned enterprises and institutions, and professional research fields by the end of 1997, accounting for 34 percent of the total.