There are an increasing number of female postgraduate tutors at Chinese universities, but the male-to-female ratio is still seriously imbalanced, according to the 2012 Chinese University Ranking by Postgraduate Tutor Sex Ratio recently published by Chinese researcher Wu Shulian and his China University Assessment team.
Wu tracked the changes with respect to the sex ratio among postgraduate tutors at 83 of China's leading universities between 2005 and 2009. Final scores were determined by multiplying the lower ratio (in terms of either female or male to the total) by two. The number of universities with a score above the borderline of 60 rose from only 10 in 2005 to 20 in 2009.
During this period, the majority of these universities have worked to ensure that both their male and female academic staff receive equal treatment and opportunities for promotion. Of these universities, 73 recorded a gradual rise in their percentage of female staff, with Shanghai International Studies University (SISU), Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT) and Beijing Language and Cultural University (BLCU) posting the greatest increases: 20.02 percentage points, 15.69 percentage points and 13.86 percentage points more than in 2005, respectively.
In sharp contrast, ten universities posted negative growth in their female ratios between 2005 and 2009. Of the ten, six were from the Project 985 universities, which are set to be developed into world-class universities over the course of this century. Among these universities were several of China's most prestigious seats of higher education, including Tsinghua University (THU), Zhejiang University (ZJU) and the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC).
Wu also found that the key to the severely imbalanced sex ratio among postgraduate tutors (lower female percentage) is that female staff often face greater obstacles than their male colleagues in terms of gaining promotion from associate professor to full professor (usually the grade at which a professor may act as a PhD supervisor). He suggested that the key to solving the sex ratio problem and avoiding sex discrimination lies in having more females at full professor level.
Following are the top 10 Chinese universities with the most seriously imbalanced sex ratio among postgraduate tutors:
Tsinghua University 清华大学
Tsinghua University [baidu.com]
Female Ratio 2009: 17.19 percent
Female Ratio 2005: 17.29 percent
Female Ratio Growth: -0.1 percentage points
Tsinghua University (THU) was ranked 74th in 2009 with a score 34.38. In that year, only 17.19 percent of postgraduate tutors were female while 82.81 percent were male. The female ratio was 0.1 percentage points lower than in 2005, when the university was ranked 56th in this respect.
Originally founded in 1911 as Tsinghua College, Tsinghua University is today widely recognized as one of the top two universities in China. Dubbed "the MIT of China", the university is renowned for its excellence in the natural sciences. Presently, Tsinghua's full-time teaching staff numbers 2,923, of which 1,186 are associate professors and 1,211 are full professors.