Volume 49 - Article 14 | Pages 355–384  

Moving towards gender equality in China: The influence of migration experiences on rural migrants’ gender role attitudes

By Chao Yuan, Dong Zhang


Background: Family, schooling, and culture influence attitudes towards gender roles, which life experiences further reinforce. Cross-regional migration is an important life experience that can reshape gender role attitudes. However, little is known about how host-city cultures influence migrant workers’ gender role attitudes and the influencing mechanisms.

Objective: This study investigates the impact of migration experiences on rural migrants’ gender role attitudes, revealing the influencing mechanisms of urban culture.

Methods: The augmented inverse probability weighting method is utilised to develop a model of migration’s influence on gender role attitudes. Data are sourced from the 2015 Chinese General Social Survey, conducted with 4,791 rural migrant workers (aged 16–65 years).

Results: Rural–urban migrants become more accepting of gender equality after migration, although this trend is stronger in the labour market than in the domestic domain. Further, analysing the moderating effect of provincial gender culture and differences on rural migrants’ gender role attitudes shows that workers who migrate from more gender-conservative places become more accepting of gender equality after leaving and that women are more strongly influenced by gender equality in urban areas than are men.

Contribution: The study provides further insight into cultural impacts on migrants’ values and how such impacts are differentialised regarding gender, the work–family sphere, and regional culture. This impact is mostly limited to the performance of the rural migrant population in the labour market and does not fully penetrate into this population’s family life.

Author's Affiliation

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