GENDER DIFFERENCES IN EDUCATIONINTERNAL AND EXTERNAL FACTORS
EXTERNAL FACTORS AND GENDER DIFFERENCES INACHIEVEMENT• The impact of feminism• The feminist movement has lead to more rights forwomen since the 1960s. However equal rights have notcompletely been achieved but there has beenconsiderable success which is highlighted by AngelaMcRobbie who compared womens magazines from the1970s and 1990s. In the 1970s the magazines wereemphasising the importance of marriage and the 1990sone had images of independent women.
EXTERNAL FACTORS CONTINUED…• Changes in the family• There have been major changes in the family since 1970s. These include:• increase in divorce rate• increase in cohabitation and decline in the number of first marriages• increase in the number of lone-parent families (mostly female headed)• smaller families.• These changes have affected girls attitude towards education. E.g. Anincrease in the divorce rate encourages girls to look after themselves and todo well at school so they can become independent.
EXTERNAL FACTORS CONTINUED…• Changes in womens employment• There have been important changes in womens employment. These include:• The 1970 Equal Pay act makes it illegal to pay women less than men for work ofequal value.• The proportion of women in employment has risen from 47% (1959) to over 70%(2007).• Some women are breaking through the glass ceiling- the invisible barrier whichkeeps them out of professional and managerial jobs.• These changes have encourages girls to see their future with greateropportunities which provides them with the incentive to gain qualifications.• Girls changing ambitions• Sharpe compared interviews conducted with girls from 1970s and 1990s. Shefound major shifts in the way girls see their future now. In 1970s, the girls hadlow aspirations and prioritised marriage and the family. The girls in the 1990swanted to support themselves and see their future as independent women.
INTERNAL FACTORS AND GENDER DIFFERENCES INACHIEVEMENT• Equal opportunities policies• GIST (Girls into science and technology) and WISE (Women intoscience and engineering) encourage girls to pursue careers in non-traditional areas. Female scientists have visited school acting as rolemodels so that girls become aware of these policies and use them tothrive in educational success.• The introduction of the National Curriculum made boys and girls studymostly the same subjects which removed one source of genderinequality.• Positive role models in schools• An increase in the amount of female teachers and head teachersmeans that there are more women in positions of authority andseniority which means they can act as role models for girls and pushthem towards educational success
INTERNAL FACTORS CONTINUED…• GCSE and coursework• Gorard found that the gender gap was constant from 1975 till1988 when it started to favour girls because of the introductionof GCSEs and coursework. Gorard concluded that the gendergap is a product of the changed system of assessment ratherany more general failing of boys.• Mitsos and Browne suggest that girls are more successful atcoursework because they are better at meeting deadlines, moreorganised, spend more time on their work and moreconscientious.
INTERNAL FACTORS CONTINUED…• Teacher attention• Swann and Graddol found that boys attract the teachers attentionso they get more opportunities to speak. However they found thatteachers interacted with girls more positively because thediscussion focused on school work.• Swann found that boys dominate class discussions but girls prefergroup work and are better at listening and cooperating. This mayexplain why teachers respond to them more positively as they areseen as cooperative.• Challenging stereotypes in the curriculum• Research from the 1970s found women to be portrayed ashousewives and mothers in textbooks. However the removal ofthese stereotypes from textbooks have improved girlsachievement and removed a barrier.
INTERNAL FACTORS CONTINUED…• Selection and league tables• Jackson sees the introduction of league table as favouring girlsachievement as schools want to attract high achieving pupilswho tend to be girls and not low achieving pupils (majorityboys). This leaves boys to be seen as liability students-obstacles to the school improving its league system.• Two types of girls achievement• Liberal feminists- They celebrate the progress made so far onimproving achievement, but believe that more progress will bemade by educational opportunities policies and overcomingstereotypes.• Radical feminists- They see the progress made but still seeschool as remaining patriarchal e.g. education still limits subjectchoices and there are still more male head teachers thanfemale.