Education- gender differences in achievement

Education- gender- the gender gap in achievement-

What official statistics provide evidence of differeces in achievements between girls and boys  at several important stages of their education?

  • On starting school- in 2013 teacher assessments of pupils as the end of year 1 showed girls ahead of boys by between 7 and 17 percentage points in all seven areas of learning assessed. Girls were also better at concentrating. Boys were 2.5 x more likely than girls to have special educational needs.
  • At key stages 1-3- Girls do consistently better than boys, this is especially true with English.
  • GCSE- The gender gap stands att 10 percentage points.
  • A level- girls are more likely to sit, pass and get higher grades than boys in exams, but the gender gap is much narrower than at GCSE. 
  • On vocational courses- A larger proportion of girls achieve distinctions im every subject 
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Education- gender- external factors- card 1

How has feminism effected women?

Feminism strives for equal rights for women in all areas of life. The feminist movement has challenged the traditional stereotype of a womans role soley as a mother and housewife in the patriarchal nuclear family. Although feminists argue we have not yet achieved full equality, feminism has raised womens expectations and self-esteem. 

How have the changes shown by feminism been reflected in the media?

McRobbie's study of girls magazines, showed that in the past they emphasised the importance of getting married and not being left on the shelf, where as now they contain images of assertive, independent women. 

How has feminism improved girls educational achievement?

The changes encouraged by feminism may affect girls self imagee and ambtions with regard to the familt and careers. This may explain improvements in educational achievement.

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What changes have there been in the family since the 1970's?

  • Increase in divorce rate.
  • Increase in cohabitation and decrease in first marriages.
  • Increase in the number of lone parent families.
  • Smaller families.

How have changes in the family changed girls attitude towards education?

The increased number of female-headed lone parent families meeans more women need to take on the role of the breadwinner. This creates a new adult role model for girls- the finnancially independent woman. To achieve this indpendence women need well-paid jobsand therefore good qualifications. 

Increase in the divorce rate may suggest to girls that it is unwise to rely on your husband to be the provider. This may encourage girls to look at themselves and their qualifications to make a living.

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Education- gender- external factors- card 3

What changes have there been in womens employment in recent decades?

  • The 1970 equal pay act made it illegal to pay women less than men forwrk of equal value.
  • Since 1975 the pay gap has halved between men and women to 15%.
  • The proportion of women in employment has risen from 53% to 67%, the growth of the servie sector and flexible part time work had offered more opportunities for women.
  • Some women are now breaking through the glass ceiling- the invisible barrier that keeps them out of professional managerial jobs.

How have the changes in employment effected girls educational achievement?

These changes have encouraged girls to see their future in terms of paid work rather than as housewives, greater career opportunities and better pay for women, as well as the role models sucessful women offer, provide iincetive for girls too gain qualifications.

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How have girls changing ambitions created educational achievement according to Sharpe?

Sharpes interview with girls in the 1970's and 1990's show a majo shift in the way girls see their future. In 1974 girls had low aspirations, they believed educational success was unfeminine and ambition would appear to be unattractive. They gave their priorities as love, marriage, husbands, children, jobs and careers. By the 1990's girls ambitions had changed and they had a different order of priorities- careers and being able to support themselves. These girls were more likely to see their future as an independent woman with a career.

What did O'connors study find about changing ambitions of girls and how did beck and beck-gernsheim link their research to this?

O'Connors stuudy of 14-17 year olds found that marriage and children were not a major part of their life plans. Beck and Beck-Gernsheim link this trend towards individualisattion in modern society, where independence is valued much more strongly than in the past. A career has become part of a womans life project as it promises recognition and economic self sufficiency. Therefore, to gain reconition and economic self sufficiency girl recognise that they need a good education. 

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How does class affect girls ambitions?

Working class girls continue to have gender-stereotyped aspirations for marriage and children and expect to go into traditional low paid womens work. Reay argues this reflects the reality of the girls class psoitions, their limited aspiarations reflect the limited job opportunitites they percieve as being available to them. 

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education- gender- internal factors- card 1

How have equal opportunities helped to improve girls educational acheivement?

Policymakers are now much more aware of gender issues and teachers are more sensitive to the need to avoid stereotyping. The belief that boys and girls are now entitled to the same opportunities is part of mainstream thinking and it effects educational policies. Boaler sees he impact of equal opportunities polcies as the meain reason for girls educational achievement. Many of the barriers have been removed and schooling has become more meritocratic so girls who work harder than boys achieve more.

What polcies have been put in place to increase equal opportunities?

GIST- girls in science and technology and WISE- women into science and engineering, which are put in place to encourage girls to pursue careers in non-traditional areas. Female scientisits have visited schools to act as role models, and science teachers have been made more aware of gender issues.

The national curriculum removed one source of gender equality by making boys and girls study mostly the same subject.

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How have positive role models effected girls achievement?

There has been aan increae in the proporition of female teachers and heads. These women in senior positions act as role models for girls, showing them women can achieve positions of importance and giving them non-traditional goals to aim for. Women teachers are particulary important role models when eucationaal achievement is concerned as to become a teahcer the individual must undertake lengthy and sucessful education herself. 

How have the ways indviduals get assessed at GCSE benefited girls and increased their educational achievement?

Couursework is said to favour girls and disadvantage boys. The year coursework was introduced the gender gap increased sharply due to the change in the way pupils are assessed. According to Browne and Mitsos girls are more sucessful in coursework because:

  • They spend more time on their work.
  • Take more care of the way work is presented.
  • Are better at meeting deadlines.
  • Bring the correct material and equipment to lessons. 
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education- gender- internal factors- card 3

Why do girls benefit for oral exams?

They generallt have better developed language skills. Sociologists argue that these skills are the result of early gender role socialisation in the family. for example girls are encouraged to be clan and tidy, which benefits them in todays education system. 

How does teacher attention effect girls and boy differently?

French found boys recieve moore attention as they attracted more reprimands. Francis found that whilst boys got more aattnetion they were disipline more harshly and felt picked on by teachers, who had low expecations of them. Swann found boys dominante class discusiion whilst girls prefer to work in pairs or groups, girls speech chracterises taling in turn not rude interuption characterised in boys conversations. This  explains why teachers repsond more positively to girls whom they see as cooperative, than to boys whom they see as disruptive this may lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

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How does the challenging of stereotypes in the curriculum increase girls educational success?

The removal of stereotypes from textbooks, reading schemes and learrning materials has removed barriers to girls achievement. Research in the 1970's found reading shcemes protrayed women mainly as housewives and mothers, and physic books showed them as scared by science, and maths books depicted men as more inventive. Webier argues teachers now challenge such stereotypes, sexist images have been removed from learning materials, this helps to raise girls achievemment by presenting them with a more positive image of what girls can do.

How does selection and league tables effect girls educatioanl achievement?

Marketisation has created a more competitive climate in which schools see girls as desirable recruits as they achieve better grades. Jackson notes the intorudction of league tables has improved opportunitites for girls- high achieveing girls are more attractive to schools, where as low achieveing boys are not. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy- because girls are more likely to be recruited they are also more likely to do well. 

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What is the liberal feminsit view of girls achievement?

They celebrate the progress made so far  in improving achievement. They believe the further progress will be made by continuing development of equal opportunitities policies, encouraging positive role models and overcoming sexists attitudes and stereotypes.

What is the radical feminsit view of girls achievement?

Take a more cirticalview. While they recogniise girls are achieveing more, they emphasise that the syystem remians patriiarchal and conveys the message that it is still a mans world. For example, sexual harassment of girls at school continues, education limits girls subject choices and career options, male teachers are more likely to becoe heads and women are underepresented in many areas of the curriculum.

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Education- gender- identity, class and girls achie

What is symbolic capital?

The status, recognition and sense of worth that we are able to obtain from others.

How did working class girls gain symbolic capital and what negative impact did this have on their educational achievement?

By performing their working class feminine indentities girls gained symbolic capital from their peers. However, this brought them into conflict with the school, preventing them from aquiring educatioanl capital or economic capital. 

What is the hyper-heterosexual feminine indentity?

Girls investing time, effort and money into constructing desrble and glamourous hyper-heterosxual, feminine identities. The performance of this feminine idenitty brought statis from their female groups.

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Education- gender- identity, class and girls achie

How diid the hyper-hetereosexual feminine identitiy conflict with the school?

Many of the gils were often punished for having the wrong appearance- too much make up, too much jewellery and the wrong clothing.  Teachers saw girls preoccupaton with apppearance as a distraction from education. This led to the school defining the girls as others, incapable of educational success and therefore worthhy of less respect. This is known as symbolic violence. 

How did boyfiends conflict with the school?

They got in the way of school work and lowered girls ambitions. This included losing interest in going to uni, in studying masculine subjects sich as science or in gaining a professional career. Instead these girls aspired to settle down, have children and work in low piad womens jobs.

How did being loud conflcit with the school?

Some girls adopted the louf feminine identities which led them to be outspoken, independent and assertive, e.g. questioning teachers authroity. This failed to conform to the schools ideal female pupil identitiy as passive and suubmissive and brought conflict with teachers, who interpreted their behaviour as agressive.

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Education- gender- identity, class and girls achie

How diid the hyper-hetereosexual feminine identitiy conflict with the school?

Many of the gils were often punished for having the wrong appearance- too much make up, too much jewellery and the wrong clothing.  Teachers saw girls preoccupaton with apppearance as a distraction from education. This led to the school defining the girls as others, incapable of educational success and therefore worthhy of less respect. This is known as symbolic violence. 

How did boyfiends conflict with the school?

They got in the way of school work and lowered girls ambitions. This included losing interest in going to uni, in studying masculine subjects sich as science or in gaining a professional career. Instead these girls aspired to settle down, have children and work in low piad womens jobs.

How did being loud conflcit with the school?

Some girls adopted the louf feminine identities which led them to be outspoken, independent and assertive, e.g. questioning teachers authroity. This failed to conform to the schools ideal female pupil identitiy as passive and suubmissive and brought conflict with teachers, who interpreted their behaviour as agressive.

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Education- gender- identity, class and girls achie

What was the dilemma for working class girls?

They had to choose between gaining symbolic capital and gaining educational cpaital.

How did the girls cope with the dilemma?

To cope with this dilemma many girls defined themselves as good underneath, thi self-image, reflects the girls struggle to achieve a sense of self-worth within an education system that devalues their feminine identities.

Why are working-class girls that want to go to uni still disadvnataged according to Evans?

In her study of 21 working-class sixth form girls, girls wantted to go to uni to increase their earning power. However, this was not for them but to help their families. The girls motivation reflected the wotking-class feminine indentities. Skeggs notes caring is a crucial part of this identity, and girls wished to remain at hpme and contribute to their families. Economic necessity was a further reason for lviing at home, cost and fear of getting into debt are major worries for working class students, in deciding which uni's to apply for. Living at home was also a psoitive choice and a reflection of their working class identities. 

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Education- gender- boys and achievement- card 1

How does boys literacy effect the gender gap?

According to the DCSF the gender gap is mainly the result of boys poorer literacy and language skills.

What are the reasons for boys poorer literacy and langauge skills?

One reason for this is the fact that parents spend less time reading with their sons, another may be mothers do most of the reading, therefore children come to see reading as a feminine activity. Boys leisure purssuits such as football do little for their literacy and language skills. But by contrast girls are socialised into a bedroom culture centred aroundd sstaying in and talking with friends.

What jobs have there been a significant decline in since the 1980's?

There has been a decline in traditional mens jobs, such as jobs in heavy industrielike iron and steel, shipbuilding, mining and engineering. 

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Why has there been a decline in traditional mens jobs?

Due to the globalisation of the economoy, which has  led  to the manafacturing industry relocating to developing countries such as China, to take advantage of the cheap labour.

How has the decline in traditional mens jobs affected men according to Mitsos and Browne?

The decline in mens empoyment has led to an identity crisis for men. Many boys now believe they have little propsepct of getting a proper job, this undermines their motivationa and self-esteem so they give up on trying to gain qualifications. 

How can Mitsos and Browne be criticised?

There has only been a real decline in traditional manual workking-class jobs which require few qualifications. Therefore the disappearnce of these jobs has little impact on boys motivation to obtain qualifications

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How has the feminisation of education effected boys achievement according to Sewell?

Sewell sttates that schoools do not nurture masculine traits such as competiveness and leadership. Instead, they celebrate the qualitites more closely associated with girls, such as methodical working and attnetiveness in class. Sewell sees coursework as a major cause of  gender differences in achievement.

How should education change to benifit boys according to Sewell?

He argues some coursework should be repalced with final exam and a greater emphasis placed on outdoor education.

How does a shortage of male primary school teachers effect boys achievement?

It means boys have a lack of male role model both at home and at school, which causes underachievement. Some argue this is because the culture of the primary school has become feminsed, as a result of being staffed by female teachers unable to control boys behaviour. 

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How does reasearch argue against the idea that less male primary school teachers leads to underachievement?

Francis found 2/3 of 7-8 year olds believed that the gender of teachers did not matter.  

Why was Read criticial of the idea that less male primary schoolss teachers leds to underachievement?

Read is critical of the idea that primary schools are becoming feminised and only male teachers can exert firm discipline which boys need in order to achieve. To test these claims Read, studied the type of langauage teachers use to express the criticism or pupils work or behaviour. She identifies 2 types of language discourse:

  • A disciplarian discourse- the teachers authroity is made expllciit or visible, for example through shouting.
  • A liberal discourse- the teachers authority is implicit or invisible, this is the child centred approach the teacher speaks to the pupil as if they are an adult, expecting them to be kind, sensible and respectful. 
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What does Read argue about these 2 discouses?

She argues that the disciplarian discourse is usually associated with male teachers, where as the liberal discourse is associated with female teachers. However, her study of 51 primary school teachers found that most teachers including females used the disciplarian discourse to control pupils.

What 2 conclusions did Read draw from her findings?

  • The fact most teachers favoured a masculine disciplinarian discourse, disproved the theory the the primary school had become feminised.
  • The fact female teahers were just as likely to use the maasculine disciplinarain approach disproves the claim that only males can controla strict classroom cultue in which boys thrive in.
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How is masculinity constructed within schools according to Epstien?

She found that working-class boys are likely to be harassed, labelled as sissies and subject to homophobic verbal abuse if they appeared to be swots. Thsi supports Francis's finding that boys were more concerned abouut  being labelled by their peers as swots, as this label is a threat to their masculinity. 

What is working class masuclinity equated with and how does it conflict with school-work?

It is equated with being tough and doing manual work. Non-manual work including schoolwork is seen as effeminate and inferior. Therefor working class boys reject schoolwork to avoid being called gay.

Why is the Laddish subculture increasing?

It is becoming more widespread because girls are moinginto traditional masucline areas, therefore boys respond by becoming increasingly more laddish in their effort to construct themselves as non-feminine. 

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According to Ringrose how have feminist polcies which have helped girls created a moral panic about boys?

It has created a moral panic about fialing booys. The moral panic reflects the fear that underachiveing working class boys will grow up to become a dangerous, unemployable underclasss that threatens society's social stability. 

According to Ringrose what has the moral panic caused?

It has caused a shift in educational policy, which is now preoccupied with raising boys achievements. 

What 2 negative effects has the policy shift had?

  • By narrowing the equal opportunities policies down to failing boys, it ignores the problem of working-class and ethnic minrority pupils.
  • By narrowing the gender policy down solely to the issue ot achievement gaps, it ignores other problems faced by girls in school, such as sexual harassment, bullying, self-esteem and identity issues.
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What does Mcveigh argue about girls and boys achievement?

Mcveigh notes the similarities in girls and boys achievement are far greater than the differences. For example the class gap at GCSE is 3x wider than the gender gap.

What is the result of the similarities in girls and boys achievement?

Girls and boys of the same social class tend to achieve fairly similar results, at GCSE the gender gap within any social class is rarely greater that 12 percentage points. By contrast pupils of the same gender but differenct social clasess achieve widely different results. For example girls in the highest social class can be as much as 44 percentage points ahead of girls from the lowest class. 

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Education- gender- gender and subject choice- card

How does the national curriculum options effect gender differences in subject choice?

Where there is choice boys and girls choose differently, for example although design and technology is compulsory, girls tend to choose food tech and boys tend to choose graphics.

How does the choice at AS and A-level effect gender differences in subject choice?

There are big differences at A-level, with boys opting for maths and physics, and girls choosing subjects such as sociology, english and languages. The insititute of physics foud the proportion of female A-level physics students had been consistent at aroud 20%.

How do vocational courses show the gender differences in subject choice?

Gender regregation is a feature of vocational courses , for example 1 in 100 childcare aprentices are boys.

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Education- gender- gender and subject choice- card

How does gender role socialisation explain the differences in subject choice?

Gender role socialisation is the process of learning the behaviour expected of males and females in society.

Early socialisation shapes childrens gender identity. As Norman notes, from an early age boys and girls are dressed differently, given different toys and encouraged to take part in different activities. Schools also play an important ppart, Bryne shows teachers encourage children to be tough and show initative, girls on the other hand are expected to be quiet, helpful, clean and tidy.

As a reuslt of different socialisation children develop different tastes in reading, Murphy and Elwood show that these lead to different subject choices. Boys read hobby books and information texts whislt girls read stories about people. This explains why boys prefer science and girls prefer english. 

 

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What are gender domains?

The tasks and activities that boys  and girls see as male or female terroritory, and therefore as relevant to themsleves, for example mending a car falls into the male gender domain but looking after a sick child is the female domain.

How do these gender domains effect education?

Children are more confident when engaging in tasks they see as part of their own gender domain. For example when set a maths task, girls are more confident in tackling it if its is about food and nuutrition, but boys are more confident when it is about cars.

What is a gendered subject image?

A subject which is seen as for boys or for girls.

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Why is science seen as a boys subject according to Kelly?

  • Science teachers are more likely to be men
  • The examples teachers use in textbooks, often draw on boys interests rather than girls.
  • In science lessons boys monoplise the apparatus and dominate the lab.

How does single sex schooling effect subject choice?

Pupils who attend single-sex schools hold less stereotyped subject images, and therefore make less traditional subject choices. 

What did Leonard find about single-sex schooling?

Girls in girls schools were more likely to take maths and science A-levels, while boys in boys schools were more likely to take English and languages. Girls from single sex schools were also more likely to study male-dominated subjects at uni. These findings were supported by the institute of physics which found girls in single-sex state schools were 2.4x more likely to take A level physics than those in mixed schools.

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How can subject choice be influenced by peer pressure?

Other girls and boys may apply pressure to an individual if they disapprove of his or her choices. For example boys tend to opt out of music and dance as it fallls out of their gender domain so are likely to attract a nnegative response from their peers.

What did Paechter find about subject choice being influenced by peer pressure?

Found that because pupils see sport as mainly eeithin the male domain, girls who were sporty had to deal with an image that contradicts the conventional female stereotype, which explains why girls are more likely to opt out of sport. 

How did Dewar support Paechter?

Found that male students would call girls lesbian or butch if they appeared to be interested in sport.

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How is employment sex typed and gendered?

Jobs tend to be sex typed as mens or womens, womens jobs often involve worki similar to that performed by housewives, such as chilcare or nursing. Women are concentrated into a narrow range of occupations, over half of womens employment falls into 4 catergories: clerical, secretarial, personal services and occupations such as cleaning.

How does highly gendered employment explain gender differences in subject choice?

This sex typing of ocupations aaffects girls and boys ideas about what jobs are possible and acceptable. Therefore, for example if boys get the message that nursery nursing is for women they will be less liely to opt for a course in childcare

How does social class effect choice of vocational course?

Workinf class pupils in particular make decisiions on vocational courses based on a traditional sense of gender identity. For example the girls in Fuller's study had ambitions to go into jobs such as childcare and hair and beauty. This reflected their working-class habitus - their sense of what a reaisitc expectation was for people like them. 

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Education- gender- pupils sexual and gender ident

How is there a double standard of sexual morality according to Lee's?

Boys boast about their sexual exploits, but call girls slags if they dont hhave a steady oyfriend or dress in a certian way. Sexual conquest is approved of and given status by male peers and ignored by males teachers. But promiscuous behaviour by girls attracts a negative label.

What do feminsits see these double standards as an example of?

Exmaple of a patriarchal ideology that justifies male power and devlaues women. Double standards are seen as a form of social control taht reinforces gender inequality.

How does verbal abuse reinforce dominant gender and sexual indentities?

Boys use name calling to  put girls down if they behave or dress in certain ways, Lee's found boys  called girls slags if they appeared to  be sexually available and drags if not. Paechter sees name calling as helping to shape gender identity and maintain male power, negative labels such as gay, queer and ****** are ways in which pupils policie each others sexual identities. 

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Education- gender- pupils sexual and gender ident

What is the male gaze?

The male gaze is the way male pupils and teachers look girls up and down, seeing them as sexual objects and making judgements about their apperance. 

What do Mac an Gahill see the male gaze as?

A form of surrviellance through which dominant heterosexual masculinity is reinforced and feminity devalued. It is a way in which bbys prove their masculinity to their friends and is combined with the constant telling and retelling of stories about sexual connquests.

How do male ppeer groups use verbal abuse tto reinforce their masculinity?

Epstein and Willis  show that boys in anti-school subcultures ofteen accuse boys who want to do well as gay andd effeminate. 

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Education- gender- pupils sexual and gender ident

According to Mac an Ghaill's  study of Parnell school, how do peer groups reproduce a range of different class-based masculine identities?

The working class macho lads were dismissive of other woorking-class boys who wanted to do well, worked ahrd and aspired to middle class careers, reffering to them as ******** achievers. By contrat middle class real Englishmen projected an image of effortless achievement- of suceeding without trying. The dominant defintion of masculine identity chges from macho lads in lower school to real englishmen in sixth form.

What did Ringroses study discover about girls identities?

Found that being popular was crucial to the girls identities. As girls made a transisition froom a girls friendship culture to a heterosexual dating culture they faced tensioon between.

  • An idealised feminine identity- showing loyalty to the female peer group, being non competitive and getting along with everybody in the friendship culture.
  • A sexualised identity- involved competing for boys in the dating culture.
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Education- gender- pupils sexual and gender ident

According to currie girls are forced to perform a balancing act between 2 indentities, why are thye forced to do this?

  • Girls who are too competitive and think of themselves as better than their peers are at a risk of **** shaming- being lablled as ****s and excluded froom the friendship culture.
  • Girls who do not compete for boyfrends may face fridgid shaming by other girls.

How do teachers reinforce dominant definitions of gender identity?

Haywood and Mac an Gahill found thatmale teachers told boys off for behaving like girls and teased them when they gained lower marks than girls in tests. Teachers ignored boys verbal abuse of girls and even blamed the girls for attracting it. 

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