Left Behind by COVID-19

Experiences of “Left-Behind” Girls in Rural China

in Girlhood Studies
Author: Jue Wang 1
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  • 1 Dept. of Curriculum and Instructions, the Pennsylvania State University, USA juw65@psu.edu
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Abstract

“Left-behind” children in rural China are those whose parents seek work in urban areas and leave them behind in their hometowns. In this article, I focus on the experiences of five young “left-behind” girls who were socially isolated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the Chinese authorities’ instruction to schools to “Stop classes, but don't stop learning,” I examine micro-level data on the tensions and challenges experienced by these girls during the COVID-19 lockdown. I look at how the pandemic has affected these girls in relation to school and family life and suggest that it has exposed and magnified gender inequalities, particularly those related to the maltreatment exerted by their guardians and/or brothers, that have left them even further behind.

Contributor Notes

Jue Wang is a doctoral Candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park. Her research focuses on using qualitative methods to provide a nuanced study in rural China that explores young girls’ gender identity from a community perspective and how literacy is taken up in constructions of gender performances. She is currently an instructor for undergraduates who are preparing to be teachers in early childhood and elementary classrooms. Email: juw65@psu.edu

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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