Gender equality is a broad topic with many different angles that can be examined. For my part inthis project I chose to research the changing perspective on gender inequalities in schools.
Iwanted to find out what people really felt about the fairness of their education, and whether theyreally felt they had been shortchanged in the learning process because of their sex. My resultswere generally what I had expected to find, though there were a few interesting findings along theway. I used an article from Education Week entitled, “The Silent Gender Gap”, An empiricalresearch project conducted by Molly Weinburgh of Georgia State University, and I conducted myown research by using surveys and interviewing people about what they remember from their daysI wanted to answer the question as to whether or not gender really played a role in theequality of people’s education. I expected to find that the further back through time I looked, themore evidence I would find of there being a general sentiment toward the belief that males werefavored in the classroom. This favoritism I expected to be greater and have a larger impact thefurther back through time I went with my interviews. However, I expected that in more recenttimes the pendulum of educational inequalities would have swung hard the other way, giving thefemales a clear advantage.Order now
In the end I was right, to an extent. I conducted interviews with or received surveys back from forty-eight people ranging inage, background, and geographic region of where they attended high school. Six of these peoplegraduated high school between 1945 and 1955, twenty-four graduated between 1968 and 1979,and the remaining eighteen people have recently graduated since 1995. They represent threegenerations education in the public schools. When asked how they felt overall about the equalityof their education based on gender, only two people responded that they felt there had not beenfair treatment between the sexes, these two will be discussed in-depth later.
Every respondentsaid that they had not changed the beliefs they held during school. However, the inequalitiesbecame evident in later questions that were designed to bring out impressions about certainsituations and asked for additional comments. Of the twenty-four respondents graduating from1968 to 1979, twenty-two claimed overall equality in their education, of these, nine indicatedsome minor tendencies toward gender biased policies in teachers’ classrooms. All but one ofthese nine said the males had received some form of favoritism regardless of their own gender. The recent graduate group results showed opposite results. Of the eighteen people whograduated since 1995, all claimed overall equality (a sign of progress), however all but twoclaimed that the girls were given advantages over the males (a sign of too much progress).
Thetwo who did not claim female benefits felt their education was equal. The interesting age groupwas the elders. They were hesitant to respond to my questions. After great amount of reflection,there was an agreement that men were given a better opportunity for success. These peoplestruggled to decide not because they could not remember, but because they never gave genderinequality too much thought. Some responses to the questions designed to inspire thought andsentiments were good examples of the overall feeling on gender inequalities.
For example,“Studies today seem to draw our focus to minor issues (mountains out of mole hills)” and“. . . gender was the inequality of least concern back when I was in school. ” As for the two whodid not feel there overall educational experience was fair, both graduated in 1976, both werefemale, but one felt the males got the clear advantage, the other felt the females won the war forfavoritism. “The Silent Gender Gap,” offers the best explanation for this conflict of opinions.
The Education Week article makes the claim that when looking at African-American students thegender gap actually favored the females as early as 1970. The women who said there schoolingwas unfairly tilted toward males was from the predominantly white Central Pennsylvania region,while the lady saying girls had the upper hand came from a school in Maryland which had an equalif not greater number of African-American students, a possible explanation for the differing viewsWhen looking at the results, we see that the hypothesis was overall correct. The trend hasbeen for the girls to be treated progressively better while the boys .