Education: Gender differences in Education

HideShow resource information

The Gender gap in achievement:

  • Boy used to outpeform girls before 1980s, but now girls do better in every subject.
    • Keystage 1-3: Girls outpeform boys constantly in English, this gap is smaller in maths and science.
    • GCSE: Gender gap is 10% points up for girls.
    • AS/A-Levels: Girls most likely to pass/get higher grades. 47% girls got 47% A/B but boys 42%.
    • Vocational: Girls still get distinctions.
  • For Gender differences there are External (Outside school) and Internal (inside school).
1 of 21

External factors for differences:

1) IMPACT OF FEMENISM:

  • Since 1960's feminists challenged patriarchy in all areas, home, education and law.
  • Reject that women are inferior.
  • Impacted women's rights and chances for changes in law, e.g. Equal-Pay act 1970.
  • Feminism = raised women self-esteem. Women are more motivated in to do well in education.

2) CHANGING AMBITIONS:

  • Girls views of themselves in the future has changed.
  • Sue Sharpe - Studied Working class women in 1970 and 1990 to see goals have changed.
    • 1970 - Girls wanted children, husband, love and work related to the home.
    • 1990 - Girls wanted careers and independence.
  • Francis - Girls had high career aspirations and so needed qualifications.
  • Beck and Gernshiem - industrialisation has now caused need for more independence.
  • Class also affects ambition, some W.Class women still have to go into traditional low paid jobs.
  • They may only see motherhood as their future.
2 of 21

External factors for differences:

3) CHANGING FAMILY:

  • Increase in divorce, 40% will end like this.
  • More Lone-parent families headed by a female.
  • More Cohabitation.
  • More women are single.
  • Changes mean women are economically independent so they need qualifications.

4) CHANGES IN EMPLOYMENT:

  • There are now more opportunites for women.
  • 75% of married women are now in work compared to 50% before.
  • Changes in law have gave more chances.
  • 1970  Equal pay act and 1975 Sex discrimination act gave women more rights.
  • Since 1975 the pay gap has halved.
  • 53% in 1971 to 67% in 2013, women in work has risen.
  • This gives them motivation to succeed.
3 of 21

Internal factors for differences:

  • Idea that boys and girls should have equal chances is now a norm.
  • There are policies which help provide these chances.

1) EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICIES:

  • GIST AND WISE - Encourages women to go into Science, technology, maths and engineering.
  • Feminists come into schools as role models and raise awareness of gender issues to develop girls interests in careers.
  • THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM 1988 - Both genders study same subjects, e.g. science, english and maths in compulsary for equal chances.
  • MERITOCRACY - These policies have made school more meritocratic, so if girls work hard, they can achieve.

2) POSITIVE ROLE MODLES:

  • More female teachers/headteachers than in the past = more positive/pro-education role models.
  • More female teachers feminise the environment, help girls see school as somewhere they belong and be inspired.
4 of 21

Internal factors for differences:

3) GCSE AND COURSE WORK:

  • Mitsos and Browne - Girls outpeform boys on coursework. They more organised, aware and mature much earlier than boys.
  • Coursework therefore boosted exam results for girls.
  • They spend more time, care, meet deadlines and are well equipped.
  • Gorard - Gender gap increased as GCSEs 1988 as courswork became part of the subject.

4) STEREOTYPES IN LEARNING MATERIALS:

  • Study of reading schemes, textbooks and other learning materials and removed a barrier to girls achievment. Before they were under represented and seen as subordinate to males.
  • Since the 80's, sexist images have been removed and now are positive. This inspires women and let's them know what they can achieve.
5 of 21

Internal factors for differences:

5) SELECTION AND LEAGUE TABLES:

  • Marketisation policies have led to competition in schools to boost results and league position.
  • Girls now more successful are attractive to these schools for best results.
  • But boys are lower achieving and seen as less attractive to these schools due to poor results.
  • This makes girls get into better school with better education

6) TEACHER'S ATTENTION:

  • Ways teacher intereact with boys and girls is different.
  • French - Boys recieved more attention for their punishments and behaviour.
  • Francis - Although they were given attention, they felt they were being disciplined more harshly and picked on with lower expectations.
  • Swan - Gender differences in communication style, boys like class discussion but girls prefer group which teacher prefer.
  • Teachers respond positively to girls than boy which may = self-fulfilling prophecy.
6 of 21

Internal factors for differences:

LIBERAL AND RADICAL FEMINISTS RESPONSE TO ACHIEVMENT:

  • LIBERAL FEMINISTS: Celebrate the progress and it can improve with more equal chances.
    • Similar to functionalists view of meritocracy.
  • RADICAL FEMINISTS: More critical, system is still patriarchal.
    • Sexual harrassment of girls in schools is still present.
    • Eduucation limits girls careers and choices.
    • Males are still likely to become head teachers than girls.
    • Womena aren't common in subjects like history.
7 of 21

Identity, class and girls' achievement:

  • There are social class differences for girls in achievement.
  • E.g. 40% of girls on free school meals got 5+ GCSEs A-C but those not on free school meals got 67%

SYMBOLIC CAPITAL:

  • Archer et al - These differences are caused by conflict with W.Class girls feminine identities and ethos of school
  • Symbolic capital = something of status and worth you benefit from.
  • Her study showed W.Class girls identities got symbolic capital from peers but not school.
  • This prevented educational and economic capital.
  • For created a valued sense of self, there were hyper-heterosexual feminine identity, having a boyfriend or being loud.
8 of 21

Identity, class and girls' achievement:

HYPER-HETEROSEXUAL FEMININE IDENTITY:

  • Many girls want glamorous hyper heterosexual identities.
  • E.g. one girls spent £40 a week on her appearance.
  • They made identities that were black urban american styles, **** clothing and make-up.
  • This = symbolic capital among friends.
  • But this caused conflict with the school with too much wrong jewellary/make-up.
  • This led to school defining them as not one of us = symbolic violence as they denied them symbolic capital and saw their culture as worthless.
  • Ideal pupil for them was a de-sexualised, middle class pupil.

BOYFRIEND:

  • Having a BF brought symbolic capital, but it disrupted school work.
  • They had lower aspirations and avoided male subjects.
  • Instead took on W.Class jobs like childcare, one even got pregnant and dropped out of school.
9 of 21

Identity, class and girls' achievement:

BEING LOUD:

  • Many Girls challenged teacher's authority via being outspoken.
  • Goes against schools stereotype of an ideal pupil as passive and submissive.
  • Caused conflict as teacher's saw them as aggressive.

WORKING CLASS PROBLEM:

  • Gaining Symbolic capital - from their peers via conforming to a hyper heterosexual identity.
  • Gaining educational capital - rejecting W.Class identity and conforming to school's middle class notions and values of an ideal pupil.

SUCCESSFUL WORKING CLASS GIRLS:

  • Evans - Study of 6th form girls found that they wanted to go university to increase earnings and some wanted to stay home and help their family.
  • This was done through care for families, a W.Class identity.
  • This makes successful W.Class girls live at home which excluded them from elite universities.
10 of 21

Boys and achievement:

LITERACY:

  • Boys are behind due to lack of literacy skills.
  • Parent's spend less time reading to boys, mainly mothers read to the young and so reading is seen as feminine.
  • Boys leisure interest like sport and computing to benefit literacy.
  • But Girls 'bedroom' culture, where they stay in and talk to friend benefits them.
  • This affects boy over all subjects.

GLOBALISATION AND DECLINE OF TRADITIONAL MEN JOBS:

  • Since 80's, globalisation has led manufacturing companies to place themselves in developing countries.
  • UK's Mining, shipbuilding, iron, steel and engineering has declined,
  • These 'men' jobs led to an identity crises where they no longer have a self esteem to get qualifications due to low job prospects.
11 of 21

Boys and achievement:

LACK OF A MALE ROLE MODEL:

  • Increase in female headed lone parent households, men lack a male role model who is a breadwinner and supports the family.
  • Boys will then see employment as unvaluable and therefore value of education and qualifications.
  • Primary school male teachers are low too.
  • Only 15% are male, and 40% of 8-11 year olds don't have a male teacher.
  • Survey showed they worked harder with male teacher.

FEMINISATION OF EDUCATION:

  • Sewell - Boys have fallen behind due to feminisation and schools lack competition/leadership.
  • E.g. say coursework is a feminine way that disadvantages boys and only 1/6 primary school teachers are male.
  • For boys there needs to be more outdoor adventure on the curriculum.
12 of 21

Boys and achievement:

POLICIES TO RAISE BOY'S ACHIEVEMENT:

  • The Raising Boys Achievement Project - Teacher strategies for single sex teaching.
  • National Literacy Strategy - Imrpoved boys reading.
  • The Reading Champions Scheme - Show male role models reading.
  • Playing for Success - Boost skills and motivation.
  • The Dads and Sons campaign - Helps fathers be more involved.

ARE MORE MALE TEACHERS REALLY NEEDED?

  • 2/3 7-8 year olds say the gender of a teacher doesn't matter.
  • Read - criticised Sewell, gender doesn't matter but language.
    • A Disciplinarian Discourse - Teachers' authority is visible via shouting and sarcasm linked with mascuilinity.
    • A Liberal Discourse - Teachers' authority is invisible, teachers talk to children like young adults, expecting them to be kind and sensible linked with femenism.
  • Found teachers' prefer disciplinarian course which shows school haven't been feminised.
  • Found female teachers' using disciplinary course disproves the idea only males can be strict and order a class.
13 of 21

Boys and achievement:

LADDISH SUBCULTURE:

  • Francis - Boys were more concerned about being labelled by peers as swots, being harrassed, given homophobic names. This threaten a man's mascuilinity than a woman's feminism.
  • Epstein - Pro-school W.Class boys were more likely to be harrassed.
  • As Girls move into paid work which is apparently non-mascuiline, boys tried to be laddish and wanted to be non-feminine leading to underachievement.

THE MORAL PANIC OF BOYS:

  • Anti-feminists say we need no more policies to help girls in education. 
  • They say this has now disadvantaged boys. 
  • Ringrose - This has lead to a moral panic of boys becoming unemployable and dangerous.
  • This has changed educational policy 
  • Narrowing equal opportunites to just failing boys  ignores disadvantaged W.Class boys.
  • Narrowing gender policy just to achievement gaps ignores probles faced by girls like sexual harrassment or bulying.
14 of 21

Boys and achievement:

CLASS AND ETHNICITY:

  • Both genders are doing better than in the past.
  • Girls and boys are more similar when it comes to achievment better than class differences.
  • E.g. GCSE class gap is 3x wider than the gender gap which is only 12 points.
  • Boys and girls of different social classes get different results.
  • High class girls are 44 points ahead of Lower class girls.
  • Also Gender gap depends of ethnicity too.
  • Black Carribeans girls outpeform boys.
  • Shows how class, gender and ethnicity interplay for a better understanding of differences.
15 of 21

GENDER AND SUBJECT CHOICE:

  • Theres's still a pattern of male and female subjects.
  • Boys opt for maths and physic, girls opt for languages. 
    • National curriculum options - Girls and boys differ, e.g. design technology is compulsory, but girls choose food technology where as boy choose resistant materials.
    • AS and A levels - Gendered subjects = more noticeable after 16 when they have ore choice. E.g.  Boys opt for maths/physic but girls opt sociology/english.
    • Vocational courses - Prepare you for a career, Girls choose childcare and beauty but boy choose construction and engineering.

REASONS FOR SUBJECT GENDER DIFFERENCES:

1) GENDER ROLE SOCIALISATION:

  • Is process of learning behaviour for males and females in soceity.
  • Early socialisation effects this, at an early age, boys and girls are dressed differently, have different toys and activities. 
  • Schools teacher boys to be manly, not weak and sissies. Girls are told to be quiet, helpful and clean.
  • This develops into a different taste in reading which then leads to different subject choices.
  • Boys read hobby books but girls read stories = why boys pick science, girls pick English.
16 of 21

Gender and subject choice:

GENDER DOMAINS:

  • This is the tasks/activites seen as male/female territory, shaped via childs early life and adult expectations.
  • E.g. Mending cars is male territory but looking after sick is female territory. 
  • Also when given the same math tests relating to car and food both genders did well.
  • Boys like how things work/ are made but girls like how people feel, hence why they pick humanity subjects.

2) GENDERED IMAGES:

  • Kelly - boys choose sciences becauses, they are male headed, examples and books used draw male attention not girls and in science lessons, boy dominate the lab as if it's theirs.
  • Anne Colley - Computing is seen as mascuiline as it involves machine work and few chances for group work which girls favour.
17 of 21

Gender and subject choice:

SINGLE SEX SCHOOLING:

  • Single sex school have less stereotyped subject image.
  • Leonard - Girls in girls schools took science, boys in boys school took languages.
  • More likely to go univesity and study male subjects too.

3) PEER PRESSURE:

  • Boys and girls pressure peers to conform.
  • E.g. boy in mixed schools didn't choose music or dance due to pressure and girls didn't choose sport incase of being called a lesbian or butch.
  • In single sex schools there is no peer pressure as no boys/girls will effect their choice and no stereotypes of subjects are seen.

4) GENDERED CAREER OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Jobs by men and women are often dominated by gender, e.g. nursing and construction.
  • Sex types jobs affects subject choice, e.g. if boys get the impression nursey nurses are for females, they won't pick childcare.
  • Women careers are similar to work of housewives.
  • Vocational courses are more gender types as it directly links to a career plan.
18 of 21

Pupils' sexual and gender identities.

  • Connell - School reproduces 'hegomonic mascuilinity', dominance of the heterosexual mascuiline identity and subordinate of female identity.
  • Femenists say school reproduces patriarchy.

1) DOUBLE STANDARDS:

  • This = when one moral standard is given to a group to a different moral standard is given to another.
  • Sue Lee - Double standard of sexual morality in which boys boast about their sexual exploits but calls a girls a **** if she doesn't has a steady boyfriend, speaks/dresses differently.
  • Double standards are patriarchal.

2) VERBAL ABUSE:

  • Name calling puts girls down and acts as a social control to make them confrom to males.
  • Sue Lee - Boys call girls **** if sexually available and drags if they aren't these labels aren't available to boys.
  • These labels help shape sexual identity. Labels aren't actually their behaviour but way to reinforce gender norms/identities.
19 of 21

Gender and subject choice:

3) MALE GAZE:

  • Pupils control each others' identities via a male gaze.
  • Mac an Ghaill - Pupils and teachers look girls up and down seeing them as sexual objects.
  • This is a way heterosexual mascuilinity is reinforced and feminity devalued.
  • It's a way for boys bragging about sexual conquests and so aren't labelled gay.

4) MALE PEERS:

  • Verbal abuse is used to display mascuilinity.
  • Epstein - Boys in anti school subcultures who wanted to do well were labelled as gay.
  • Mac an Ghaill - In anti-school subcultures where macho lads were present, those W.Class who aspired to do well and get middle class jobs were labelled D***head achievers.
  • But middle class 'real englishmen' try to show effortless achievment in sixth form.
  • There is a shift from macho lad to real englishmen from lower schools to sixth form.

5) TEACHERS:

  • Reproduce patriarchy by tell boys stop acting like girls/teasing them if a girls beats them. Teachers ignore verbal abuse of girls and blame them for attracting it.
  • Male teachers are protective over female colleagues and save them from pupil threats.
20 of 21

Gender and subject choice:

6) FEMALE PEER GROUPS: POLICING IDENTITY:

  • Archer - Females get symbolic capital via hyper heterosexual female identity.
  • Involves having a **** nike appearance to them with popular brands.
  • Female peers police this identity and so other females are afraid of becoming unpopular.
  • Ringrose - study of 13-14 W.Class girls = popularity was crucial to them.
  • But as they went from a 'friendship' culture to a heterosexual dating culture it caused conflct as they went from....
    • Idealised feminine identity - loyalty to their female peers, no competition and get along.
    • A Sexualised identity - Competing for boys in dating culture.
  • But then they need to balance this as...
    • If they get too stuck up and think they're better than their friends they will be **** shaming labels.
    • If they don't compete for boyfriends they will be frigid shaming labels.
  • Shaming is a policing device.
    • Boffin Identity = Girls wanted educational success and conform to school rules of an ideal female pupil, they then show lack of interest in boys. They were excluded from girls and boys. They see W.Class girls as chavs.
21 of 21

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Education resources »