An education official said on Wednesday that China maintained a balanced male to female ratio in university admissions, following media reports of gender discrimination.
The ratio of female applications and admissions stood at 50.3 percent and 51.9 percent respectively in the 2013 college entrance exam, according to an official from the Ministry of Education.
On Sept. 1, five women wrote a letter of complaint to the ministry, stating that female candidates were discriminated against in admissions to 11 prestigious universities and alleging breaches to ministry regulations.
On the same day, 11 female lawyers also sent an open letter to the ministry, asking whether the enrollment procedures at the universities were authorized by the ministry and asking for clarification of potential violations.
"In accordance with the law, the Ministry of Education cannot authorize fixed male/female ratios in the university admissions," the official said, adding that the ministry attached great importance to equal rights in education.
University authorities were told not to roll out regulations to set male to female ratios except for military academies, national defense and public security colleges, according to a circular issued by the ministry.
However, universities have the right to set specific male to female ratios in accordance with laws when students are applying for majors such as geology, mining and navigation, as China's law on the protection of women's rights and interests does not allow women to take such jobs.
In addition, it is also hard for universities to arrange proper internships for female students studying such majors, the official said.
"In order to ensure fair and transparent admissions, the ministry and education authorities have reviewed enrollment guidelines for all universities this year, and asked them to publicize enrollment information." the official added.