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Special Feature. Chinese Women: Becoming Half the Sky?

“Jumping Out of the Agricultural Gate” (tiaochu nongmen)

Social Mobility and Gendered Intra-household Resource Distribution among Children in a Central Chinese Village, 1950-2012
Yuqin Huang
p. 25-33


Since the late 1950s, the implementation of the household registration (hukou) system has made converting rural hukou to urban status a central aspect of upward social mobility in rural China. Through a biographical approach, this article attempts to capture, in relation to historical periods between 1950 and 2012, the ups and downs of various forms of hukou conversion and social mobility channels, how these fluctuating routes have been perceived, interpreted, pursued, and actualised by the rural people in a central Chinese village, and their consequences in terms of gendered household educational resources distribution among children. By doing this, it addresses ongoing debates about the relationship between allocation of household resources, gender inequality, and social mobility in rural China. While examining the dynamics of these avenues to social mobility, this paper pays particular attention to education and its changing function as an important social mobility channel, and argues that there is an unintended link between higher educational attainment, improvements in gender equality in education in rural China, and social mobility. This link is nevertheless weak due to its logic of developmentalism.

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Electronic reference

Yuqin Huang, « “Jumping Out of the Agricultural Gate” (tiaochu nongmen) », China Perspectives [Online], 2012/4 | 2012, Online since 01 December 2015, connection on 27 May 2017. URL :

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About the author

Yuqin Huang

Research Fellow at Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity.
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Hermann-Föge-Weg 11, 37073 Göttingen, Germany (

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