Participation of Different Forces and Coeducation in Peking University: From Reports of Newspaper Media, 1918-1920

By Dexin, Xie; Changfa, Xie et al. | Cross - Cultural Communication, September 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Participation of Different Forces and Coeducation in Peking University: From Reports of Newspaper Media, 1918-1920


Dexin, Xie, Changfa, Xie, Tingting, Tang, Cross - Cultural Communication


Abstract

It was an important achievement that Peking University abolished female forbiddance and implemented coeducation in Women's Liberation Movement during the May 4th New Culture Movement. In this period, newspaper media kept up with the historical trend. As the leader of public opinion, Newspaper media intervened, reported and publicized the abolishment of female forbiddance and the implementation of coeducation in Peking University. It promoted the involvement of different social forces: the Principal of Peking University - Cai Yuanpei, female intellectuals, teachers and students of Peking university. These various forces played different roles in this trend. In their interaction, the abolishment of female forbiddance and the implementation of coeducation in Peking University began with appeals and debates and eventually ended with the realization. Furthermore, it aroused a nationwide impact in the education field. It not only reflects that coeducation in universities is a historical trend of democratization and modernization in higher education, but also indicates that newspaper media plays an indispensable role in Women's Liberation Movement.

Key words: Newspaper media; Abolishment of female forbiddance; Coeducation in university; Peking university

INTRODUCTION

As the leader of public opinion, newspaper media has a large circulation and a wide audience, which spread rapidly, popularizes widely and impacts profoundly. An important responsibility and an era mission of newspaper media are to serve the society, reflect and comply with the public opinion, spread the mainstream value and promote the progressive concept. During the May 4* New Culture Movement, women's liberation, with "gender equality", "education equality", "coeducation" as important contents, became the mainstream of social discourse and frequently appeared on the mass media (mainly newspapers and magazines) at that time. When most women at that time had not yet awakened and the traditional ideology had not yet been civilized, newspaper media allocated attention accordingly and had continuous publicity and reports upon coeducation in university, which created a public opinion environment favorable to the abolishment of female forbiddance and the implementation of coeducation in Peking university. "In a sense, this issue was seen as a more effective enlightenment."(Xu «fe Tang, 2012, p.23) Keeping up with the historical trend of Women's Liberation Movement, newspaper media expressed their support of coeducation, which wakened women, enlightened the public and changed the traditional ideas in the fields of education, female and ideology. It was the awakened intellectual women who realized that gender equality was the aim of women's liberation while educational equality was the root of gender equality and that the educational equality could be realized through coeducation. In order to gain women's right, female intellectuals were actively involved in the rising Movement of Women's Liberation, persued education equality, requested the abolishment of female forbiddance and the implementation of coeducation in university.

The implementation of coeducation in Peking university is an important achievement of Women's Liberation Movement in the May 4th Movement. Although it has aroused enough attention in the academic circles, the existing research results show that it is still a brief introduction rather than an in-depth and systematical research. Meanwhile, most scholars attribute coeducation in Peking University to the individual, Principal Cai Yuanpei, while a few researchers focus on some intellectual women (Huang, 1990; Deng, 1996; Xi, 2004; Chen, 1991; Qiu «fe Fang, 2002; Yao, 2003; Yuan, 2004; Xi, 2007; He, 2011).. In fact, female intellectuals, teachers and students of Peking University are also involved, who play various roles and have different effect. This thesis maintains that, in a specific historical context, the abolishment of female forbiddance and the realization of coeducation in Peking University results from an interaction of various powers. …

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