‘Women don’t belong in academia’ — male professor - SupChina
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‘Women don’t belong in academia’ — male professor

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In 2013, Feng Gang 冯钢, a sociology professor at Zhejiang University, posted to Weibo (in Chinese), saying:

I interviewed some master’s candidates yesterday. There were five women and only one man. The sex ratio imbalance is unbelievable… Based on my prior experience, fewer than one out of ten female graduate students pursue an academic path after graduation, and very few of them concentrate on their studies while completing their master’s degrees.

Feng’s sexist comments didn’t land him in trouble back then, but they were discovered and fiercely criticized by some internet users last week. Feng took offense at the accusations, and has been replying to a long string of comments since October 19. To a student at Zhejiang University who said he was ashamed of having a professor like Feng at school, he wrote, “You can drop out whenever you want.” To a commenter who suggested that male students reflect on themselves rather than blaming girls, Feng fired back, “History proves that women don’t belong in academia.”

Meanwhile, some female scholars penned an open letter (in Chinese) to Feng, demanding a public apology for his hateful remarks. “Women in any society are facing similar problems. They are largely confined to their roles as wives and mothers,” the letter said. “No matter how nicely you treat women in private, your comments on public platforms are absolutely sexist.”

—Jiayun Feng


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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.