Educational attainment and gender

  • Created by: chlopayne
  • Created on: 17-04-19 16:07
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  • Educational attainment and gender
    • Gender is a social construction.
    • 1940-50s = boys tended to do better than girls.
      • 1960s-70s = feminists challenged this.
        • Now =      girls are outperforming boys.
    • Helen Wilkinson (1994) created the term gender quake, describes shifts that were taking place in gender patterns.
    • Legal and policy reforms
      • Sex discrimination act 1975. Gender discrimination in employment illegal.
      • Impact in schools - illegal to filter students into subjects by gender. Introduction of national curriculum (1988).
        • Certain subjects mandatory for all students.
    • Shifting expectations
      • More opportunities for girls means more is expected of them.
      • Aspirational presentation of women in the media.
      • Research by Stanworth (1983) found girls were marginalised in the classroom.
      • Parents may have fewer aspirations for their songs to achieve academically.Less pressure to work hard and less support.
      • Expectations of teachers may be importantin determining achievement and lead to differing treatment of boys and girls.
    • Changing aspirations
      • Aspirations of girls may have increased with more opportunities
        • Girls want University and a career - increased engagement with school.
      • Sue Sharpe (1976) found working class girls aspirations were focused on family and motherhood.
        • She repeated her research in 1944, girls were more career orientated.
    • Feminism
      • One of the strongest arguments to explain changes is feminism.
      • Increased opportunities mean women no longer have the expectation of finding a husband to support her.
      • More jobs were demanding communication skills and ability to get along with people, attributes associated with women.
    • School organisation + feminisation of education
      • Changes to government policy and examination favour girls.
        • Introduction of coursework (1980-1990s) benefits girls learning styles more.
      • Teaching profession is dominated by women.
        • Boys have few male role models in school.
      • Males feel the need to reject educational success to assert their masculinity.
      • Emphasis tends to be on helping girls do better and take up male subjects, less has been done to encourage boys to challenge stereotypes.
      • Boys behaviour is seen as more challenging by teachers.
    • Gender socialisation
      • Sue Sharpe (1976) gender differences at school reflects the creation of gender identity.
        • Begins in primary socialisation at home and reinforced in secondary socialisation in education.
      • Accounts for boys and girls opting 'masculine' and 'feminine' subjects in options.
      • The national curriculum attempted to break down these gendered subjects but some still are associated with boys/girls.
      • Clarricoats has pointed that social class is a factor in subject choice.
        • Middle class girls are more likely to opt for male dominated subjects.


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