Phase 1: Posing Real Questions
In Phase 0, the previous phase, I have chosen my Inquiry Project topic- comparing the lives of boys and girls in Xizhou. I will be studying this topic and finding more about it during the Microcampus trip (which is coming soon in Spring). In Phase 1, I will be gathering background knowledge and posing 'real questions' to help guide me while I work on my project.
Currently, I know a bit about some topics related to gender roles in China, though not in Xizhou specifically. My background knowledge so far is mostly on how families value boys more than girls. I know that in most places in China, especially in more rural areas, boys are more valued than girls. This is because in most families, boys would carry on their family name while girls would take the family name of their husband after they get married. Additionally, while a girl would be married off to another family, a boy would be able to stay with the family and take care of their parents as they grow older. Due the families' values and traditions, women are expected to give birth to boys- it would be shameful for the family if they gave birth to a girl, especially before the one-child policy ended. Since the policy only allowed one child for each family, women were even more pressured to give birth to a boy. If they gave birth to a girl, the parents would abandon her, or use other methods to get rid of the baby girl. This resulted in an unbalanced number of boys and girls in China (the number of boys outnumbered the number of girls). Overall, my background knowledge is more about gender inequality, and I'm still missing information about the differences between the lives (in general) of both genders.
The background information that I have written about so far was mostly gathered from what I have learned in class at school. In class, we were given a few articles to read. The articles included the information that I used as my background knowledge. The articles included "The Mystery of China's Lost Girls" by Kent Ewing from Asia Times, "A Crying Shame: China's Lost Baby Girls", by Leslie Scrivener from thestar.com, and three articles from The New York Times: "As China Ages, Birthrate Policy May Prove Difficult to Reverse", by Sharon LaFraniere, "One-Child Rule Is Gone in China, but Trauma Lingers for Many", by Edward Wong, and "China to Ease Longtime Policy of 1-Child Limit", by Chris Buckley. Later on, I can review or go back to these articles if I need to, since I have not read them very recently.
In general, there is still a lot more that I would like to now about this topic. I would like to know if education is different for them, and if there are differences in their jobs (when they grow older) and responsibilities at home, and if they spend their free time differently. I would also like to know if families in Xizhou also value boys more than girls, how women and girls feel about this, and how families in Xizhou have responded to the end of the one-child policy.
To find more basic information about this topic before I go on the Microcampus trip, I will need to do some background research. The results of the background research that I will be gathering can be found in Phase 3.
Once I am finished gathering more background knowledge on my topic, I can come up with some major questions on the topic. Below are ten major questions, with possible answers below in italics, on my Inquiry Project topic. These questions will help guide me through my research for my Inquiry Project. The questions are listed in a few categories: Expectations, Education, Family, and Other. (Some questions may cover multiple categories; for example, question 3 belongs to both 'Expectations' and 'Education'.) These categories will help me with organizing my research and information that I have gathered.
1. Are parent's expectations different for their sons and daughters? If so, how and why are they different?
Parent's expectations are different for their sons and daughters- while parents expect boys to be more aggressive and dominating, they expect girls to be more gentle and quiet. This comes from beliefs from long ago that were passed down in families. The beliefs were based on different philosophical ideas in China.
2. Do the expectations of the children's families and the society that they live in affect how the goals of boys and girls are different? If so, how?
Since most people expected boys to be dominating and aggressive and girls to be gentle and passive, their goals and future carriers would probably reflect these characteristics.
3. Are teacher's expectations different for boys and girls? If they are, how and why are they different?
Possibly- teachers might expect boys to work harder if they wanted to get a good job. They might have lower expectations for girls, since some girls are expected to stay at home and take care of the family when they grow older instead of getting a job.
4. Are there differences for education between boys and girls? If so, what are the differences?
Yes, there are probably differences in education between boys and girls. Boys and girls might learn different subjects depending on their interests, their teacher's expectations, and their family's expectations and background.
5. Do boys and girls get different chances of receiving good education?
Depending on the family circumstances and the age of the child, parents might focus on making sure their son receives good education first, then focus on their daughter's education later, since getting good education and a nice job is considered necessary for a boy, though not as much for a girl.
6. How are boys and girls raised differently in the family, and why?
In the family, boys are probably encouraged to help their fathers with work outside of the house while girls are probably encouraged to do house work and help their mothers.
7. Are there differences between the responsibilities of boys and girls in their families? If so, what are the differences?
Boys are probably responsible for helping their fathers and maybe working in the farm. Girls are probably responsible for doing work inside the house like taking care of younger siblings (if they have any) and doing chores.
8. Are boys' and girls' extra-curricular activities different? If so, how?
Boys probably do sports more as an extra-curricular activity while girls might be interested in more art-related subjects.
9. Is there any gender inequality between boys and girls? If so, what are the children's thoughts on it?
Boys are probably treated better and more valued than girls since they have more power in the family, they could carry on the family name, and they could stay with the family and take care of their parents when they grow older.
10. Have the differences of education, expectations, and responsibilities between boys and girls changed over the past decades? If so, in what ways?
Over the past decades, differences of education, expectations, and responsibilities between boys and girls probably got less and less, since people are starting to change and starting to have different beliefs and values.
During my process of researching about my Inquiry Project topic, I have decided that some questions were not useful to my topic. A list of newer, updated questions can be found in Phase 3.
Overall, before the Microcampus trip starts, I still need to do some more research. So far, my background research has mostly been on the different expectations and responsibilities of boys and girls and its history. I still need to research more about differences for education between boys and girls.
With some background information ready, and ten major questions listed out to help guide me through research for my Inquiry Project topic, I have completed Phase 1. Next, I will move on to Phase 2, where I will be finding helpful resources for my Inquiry Project.