Author : Yuying Chen
Grace Community School, Tyler, Texas, US
There are three kinds of schools in Shenzhen, China: vocational, public, and international; they aim for different educational purposes. Vocational school trains students for specific manufacturing skills, the public school focuses on academic performance and domestic college admissions, and the international school prepares students to study abroad. This project compares and contrasts these students on their consumption pattern, attitudes towards love and marriage, and career development. It also explains having different family backgrounds and exposing different standards and goals from their schools set their various life approaches, ultimately leading to their disparate lives. On their approaches to money, the three interviewee groups already showed significant differences. For example, most of the vocational students earn their monthly allowance by working and only ask for their parents’ support when necessary, whereas the international students tend to rely on their parents completely for allowance. Further conversations with these girls, however, showed that the sense of financial insecurity had also affected their career planning and marriage expectations. Nevertheless, they reached a common ground on career development, as they were unanimously wary and pessimistic about the “996” work system and the “neijuan” phenomenon. More significantly, they all face the same discrimination as women regardless of where they come from and on which path of education they have embarked. They share the aspirations and challenges that are rooted in their gender identity, and eventually, they will come together and fight the same fight against the patriarchal norms of the society.