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Slide 1

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External factors and gender differences in
External factors: factors
outside the education
Many sociologists argue that gender
system, such as home and
differences in achievement and
family background and especially the more rapid improvement
wider society. in girls results can be best explained by
changes that occurred in factors outside
the school, such as the following:
1. The impact of feminism
2. Changes in the family
3. Changes in women's employment
4. Girls changing perceptions and
ambitions…read more

Slide 2

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Trend in attainment
· Starting school-62%of girls can concentrate for 10
minutes- unsupervised compared to 49% of boys.
· 70% of children with special educational needs (SEN)
are boys, compared to 30% of girls.
· 56% of girls can write and spell, compared to 42% of
· 2006-7 65% of girls got 5 A*-C grades in their GCSEs,
compared to 55% of boys.
· 2006-7 95.8% of girls passed their A levels, in
comparison to 94% of boys.…read more

Slide 3

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The impact of feminism
Key thinkers: McRobbie (1994)
Feminism is a social movement that strives McRobbie's compared girls magazines in the
for equal rights for woman in all area 1970s and the 1990s.
of life. · In the 1970s, girls magazines such as Jackie
In 1960 woman hade to stay at home emphasised the importance of getting
(housewife). Since the 1960s, the married and not being `left of the shelf'
feminist movement had challenged the
traditional stereotype of women's
· Whereas in the 1990s and onwards,
roles as mother and home wife- magazines contain images of assertive,
subordinate to her husband in a independent woman.
patriarchal nuclear family and inferior
to men outside the home. The changes encouraged by feminism may
affect girls self-image and ambitions with
The feminist movement improved women' regard to the family and careers.
s rights and opportunities though
changes in law. Most importantly,
feminism has raised women's
expectations and self esteem.
These changes are partly reflected in the
media images and messages.…read more

Slide 4

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There have been major changes in the
Changes in the family
family since the 1970s. These These changes are affecting girls attitudes
include: towards education in a number of
· Increase in the divorce rate- 40% of ways.
marriages end in divorce For example, the increase in the number
· 80% of divorce filed by woman- less of female headed lone parent families
stigma means more woman are taking on the
· An increase in cohabitation and role as the breadwinner. This
decrease in the number of first influences girls to be financially
marriages independent and see the need for a
well paid job and therefore good
· Increase in lone-parent families- 92%
lone parent are woman
Also the rise in divorce rate suggests it is
unwise to rely on a husband because
he would leave you, therefore
encourages girls to look to themselves
and their own qualifications to make a
Girls are going to be motivated to
education.…read more

Slide 5

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Changes in women's employment
Changes in woman's employment:
· Laws- The 1970 equal pay act. Illegal to These changes has encouraged girls to see
pay woman less than men. the future in terms of paid work rather than
· The 1975 sex discrimination Act outlaws as housewives.
sex discrimination in employment. Greater career opportunities and better pay
· The population of woman in for woman, and the role models that
employment has risen from 47% in successful career woman offer, provide an
1959 to over 70% in 2007. incentive for girls to gain qualifications.
· Since 1975, the pay gap between men
and woman has fallen from 30% to 17% Traditional `men's' jobs have declined.
· Woman are now breaking though the
`glass ceiling'- the invisible barrier that
keeps them out of high-level
professional and managerial jobs. Such
as company director, football manager,
doctor and so on.…read more

Slide 6

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Girls changing ambitions
Key thinkers: Sue Sharpe (1994)
Sharpe compared the results of Key thinkers: Becky Francis (2001)
interviews she conducted with girls in Francis asked girls about career
the 1970s and the 1990s. Her findings ambitions, most had high aspirations
show a major shift in the way girls see and vey few saw the future in
themselves and their future. traditional female jobs. These
In 1974, the girls that Sharpe interviewed aspirations require educational
had low aspirations, they felt qualifications.
educational success was unfeminine
and if they appeared to be intelligent
they will be considered as
i rl s -
unattractive. Priorities: love, G
marriage, husband, children, jobs,
and career.
In the 1990s girls ambitions had changed.
a t i o ns
Priorities: Career and being able to a s p ir
support themselves
Sharpe ­ 1970 book "Just Like a Girl"
(how girls learn to be women)…read more


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