AQA AS sociology Unit 2- gender and achievement

internal and external factors of gender and achievement

internal and external factors of boys and underachievement

these notes were taken from the AQA sociology textbook.

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EXTERNAL FACTORS of gender and achievement

Impact of feminism -

  • feminism has been increasing since 1960s
  • feminism aims to improve womens' image in society by challenging the female sterotype
  • McRobbie compared some magazine in 1970s and 1990s. In 1970s, magazines showed importance of marriage & family. In 1990s magazines showed images of independent women.

Changes in womens' employment -

  • 1970 Equal Pay Act - allowed men and women to be payed the same for the same job
  • 1975 Sex Discrimination Act - prevents sex discrimination at work
  • since 1975, the pay gap between men and women fell from 30% to 17%
  • some women are breaking through the 'glass barrier' - an invisible barrier that prevents women entering professional jobs
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Changes in the family -

  • since 1970s, increase in; divorce rates, cohabitation, single-parent families and smaller family size
  • these changes have an affect of girls attitudes towards education. Eg. more single-parent families becoming female headed means women take breadwinner and homemaker role. Girls therefore have a role model to look up to
  • also, increase in divorce rates gives girls the impression that they cannot rely on men being their provider, hence they go and get their own qualifications
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Girls changing ambitions -

  • the changes in the family and changes in womens employment influences girls ambitions
  • Sue Sharpe interviewed girls in 1970s about future plans. She found their plans were not career orientated and they would marry and raise a family. She interviewed girls in 1990s and found girls now were prioritising their careers more
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INTERNAL FACTORS of gender and achievement

GCSE and Coursework -

  • Mitsos and Browne found girls are achieveing because they are better organised; taking care on presentation, listening etc..
  • Elwood believes exams has more influence on achievement over coursework

Positive role models -

  • the increase in female teachers and headteachers at school gives girls role models to look up to, playing a huge role in girls achievement
  • this is because having a career in tecahing is a long and successful path
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Educational Polices -

  • the education system is aware of gender issues. The influence of educational polices comes from both genders being intitled to same educational polices
  • Examples- Girls Into Science and Technology (GIST) and Women Into Science and Engineering (WISE)
  • these polices encouraged girls to study subjects outside the 'female subjects'
  • National Curriculum (1998) meant boys and girls study the same subjects
  • Kelly believes making science a compulsory subject helped bring equality between girls and boys in education
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Teacher attention -

  • in 1983, Spender found tecahers were spending more time with boys than girls
  • Swann and Graddol found boys were more boisterous and got more opportunites to speak than girls
  • Swann also found boys were dominating class discussions whereas girls preferred listening and doing group work

Selection and league tables -

  • marketisation polices raise competition between schools --> better exam results
  • Jackson introduced league tables in 1998, a way to improve girls opportunities-> girls attracted to high achieveing schools creating self-fufilling prophecy
  • Slee believes boys are less attracted to school because they are more likely to be excluded and have behaviour difficulties
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Challenging sterotypes in the curriculum -

  • removal of educational materials eg. textbooks removed barrier to girls achievement
  • in 1970s/1980s portrayed women as housewives and mothers.
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EXTERNAL FACTORS of boys and underachievement

Boys and literacy -

  • boys have poor literacy and language skills, a reason could be that parents are spending less time reading and doing educational activites with them
  • also, boys hobbies eg. football will do little to improve these required skills. However girls hobbies includes listening eg. talking to friends
  • boys poor literacy skills will affect their performance at school, however the government has introduced some polices to improve these skills

Decline in mens' jobs -

  • since 1980s decline in mens' manual jobs due to worldwide growth of economy. This has lead to industries moving to other countries for cheap labour
  • Mitsos and Browne state this led to low self-esteem and men believing they have little prospect of getting another job
  • however a decline in mens working class jobs doesnt have much of an impact on boys motivation to obtain qualifications
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INTERNAL FACTORS on boys and underachievement

Feminisation of education -

  • Sewell believes education has become feminised & schools are not encouraging masculinity. Sewell sees coursework as benefiting girls than boys. He believes some coursework should be replaced by exams

Shortage of male role models -

  • decline in the no. of male role models in the home and primary school teachers at school
  • In 2007, DfES found men make 16% of primary school teachers only
  • Yougov found 39% of 8-11 year old boys had no lessons with male teacher. 42% said presence of a male teacher made them work harder
  • Becky Francis found 2/3 of 7-8 year olds believed gender of their teachers did not matter
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Laddish Subcultures -

  • there has been a growth in the number of laddish subcultures
  • Epstein found working class boys were more likely to be harassed if they appeared to be 'swots'
  • Francis found boys were more concerned about being labelled than girls. Labels were a threatt to their masculinity
  • Boys believe masculinity involves being tough, therefore working class boys reject school to avoid being bullied
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