To lead and to mother

Contradictory constructions of new femininities in an elite girls’ school in Hong Kong

Authored by: Dorothy Wing-huen Lee , Anita Kit-wa Chan

Routledge International Handbook of Schools and Schooling in Asia

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138908499
eBook ISBN: 9781315694382
Adobe ISBN:


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In the past two decades, young women’s educational performance in Hong Kong has gradually improved; yet this has sparked concern over boys’ “under-achievement.” Despite prevalent concern, however, few academic studies have seriously considered this complex phenomenon. Inspired by feminist discussions on this topic, this chapter explores the contradictory construction of successful female leaders in an elite girls’ school in Hong Kong. The discussion aims to show that the discourse and expectations of “successful girls” are similar to those in Anglophone countries and that they are intimately linked to Hong Kong’s neoliberal educational reforms, middle-class oriented, and fraught with contradictions.

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