The lifestyle transformation of Hui Muslim women in China: a comparison of modern and Islamic education

Atsuko Shimbo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The goal of this article is to study how modernization and globalization after the 1980s changed the career options, life course, and lifestyle of Hui Muslim women. I discuss Hui Muslim women who graduated from modern schools and became teachers, and compare them with graduates of Arabic schools who work in Yiwu as interpreters. The results suggest that the fate of Hui women teachers has changed drastically as a result of education. They are living in a secular world that is mostly unrelated to religious practices. There is a need to investigate how their identities will change in the future as marriages to the Han Chinese increase. Several Arabic schools were established after the 1980s in Ningxia. There are many students in Arabic schools who are not able to go on to public high school due to economic constraints. After graduating from Arabic school, many Hui women work as Arabic interpreters in Yiwu. Studying at Arabic schools expands the opportunities of young Muslim women and they are satisfied with both family life and work. They demand a sense of fulfillment from religion and their spirituality is high. Today, in an era of globalization, alternative education with new opportunities is developing through Arabic schools in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-61
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Contemporary East Asia Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 2


  • China
  • Hui Muslim women
  • Islamic education
  • Muslim
  • madrasa
  • modern school education
  • teacher

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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