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Is sexism rife in schools?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Gender stereotyping is still an issue in schools and as a result may be deterring female students from taking maths and science, according to new research.

    It seems that teachers are inadvertently fuelling the problem by admitting that they struggled in difficult subjects, observing casual sexism, or even boy-girl seating plans in classrooms.


    But do you agree with the report’s findings? Do you think gender bias is evident in every day school life? What has your school done to tackle the issue of gender stereotypes?
  2. maurice-r

    maurice-r Established commenter

    Sexism against men? Most teachers are women.
    FolkFan likes this.
  3. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    I am sorry but my experience does not fit with that article at all. I have though seen
    a)sexism against boys
    b) girls pushed into stem subjects . Indeed I am currently trying to deal with such an issue.
  4. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    I don't think I've encountered sexism, in any form, in any of the schools or colleges I've worked in.
    wanet likes this.
  5. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    All the time.
    Something big needs fetching - a boy is sent because boys are strong
    A note sent to the office that needs to get there promptly - a girl is sent because girls are sensible
    wanet, harsh-but-fair and FolkFan like this.
  6. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    Really? I always send a volunteer but then most of the pupils I teach can be trusted to be sensible and to do exactly what is asked of them and to do it promptly. I usually have to send a pair of them, be it boys or girls or one of each - they need to keep each other company.
  7. maurice-r

    maurice-r Established commenter

    You didn't teach some of the girls I taught, Flere.
  8. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I frequently said that I couldn't do Maths as it was too hard (& boring) - must have put off dozens of boys from doing it over 3 decades...
  9. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    And yet I bet you still assigned those type of jobs by gender, even if it waz hard to pick a "sensible" girl.
  10. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    The article is sexist in that - oh so tired this endless moan - it again only concentrates on the girls and has the - oh so tired this endless moan - message of more free lunches and favoritism towards girls, please. Matters not boys have been pushed aside to female friendly teaching and female friendly degrees and coursework ideas, or that boys for what, 2 decades now, have been 'below standard' in tests.

    The irony would be comical but it is essentially tragic. What she says is totally wrong for girls has been accepted and actively encouraged for boys for nigh on 20 years and, presumably, she has no intention to change that, just change attitudes towards girls in science and the like.

    I despair.
    Mangleworzle and hermitcrabbe like this.
  11. yfel_endwerce

    yfel_endwerce Established commenter

    I had similar thoughts Dumpty but that was simply the result of the comments from the two Dames at the end of the article.
    The earlier part of that article was well-balanced

    And the first line in the OP
  12. yfel_endwerce

    yfel_endwerce Established commenter

  13. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Sexism in schools?

    You only have to look at teachers' dress codes ...
    Mangleworzle and hermitcrabbe like this.
  14. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    'Timetabling constraints inadvertently reinforcing gender stereotypes. “Subjects were often offered in blocks, and these were usually constructed in a way that reinforced gender stereotypes. While most schools tried to accommodate students who wanted to make choices outside that structure, there was a strong message about the types of courses that are taken by boys and girls.”'

    What has timetabling to do with gender stereotypes?

    The idea of a 'gender champion' is barmy. The position would mutate into a GenCo who would swan around school enforcing their preferred classroom sex ratios, that boys stopped looking so masculine and that all available menstruation was synchronised.
    wanet and Scintillant like this.
  15. BobbyPhilips

    BobbyPhilips Established commenter

    Doesn't seem to happen in girls' schools. And the girls can perform any errand.
  16. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    ....However, the push toward STEM subjects for girls in many schools does seem to be resulting in girls ending up very unhappy taking subjects they really do not like and would rather not do. Why is it so " wrong" for a clever girl ( lets call her an " all rounder" academically) to want to do English, History or Sociology or Psychology and not Physics or Chemistry?

    Why should she not just get a choice, not pushed by schools trying to up their STEM figures.( and from what I have witnessed most of the boys don't want STEM subjects either). Many boys it seems would rather take Business , Maths , and lord forbid, even Philosophy and Ethics if they were not pushed other ways.

    Maybe its just time to ask what STEM subjects can do to make themselves attractive rather than forcing kids to take them.
  17. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Maybe there's something about STEM subjects that suits the male mind more? Is it sexist to say so?
    wanet likes this.
  18. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    Unless you have direct evidence that it's the case then, yes, that's pretty sexist. A bit like saying black people are more prone to violent crime is racist.
  19. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Evidence as in the fact that there are very few females involved in STEM subjects, that very few girls take STEM degrees and follow STEM careers?

    Why are there so few male nurses, midwives for instance? Is that sexist too?

    I spent nearly 25 years teaching science while trying to be aware of gender stereotyping, but certain things remained constant.

    I agree that would be racist, but I disagree there is any comparison.
    wanet likes this.
  20. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    But if you go back 90 years there were even fewer women in the sciences, and even fewer male nurses. The low proportion of male nurses is down to sexist stereotyping, yes. As far as girls doing STEM subjects, how do you account for the greater enjoyment and better performance in STEM subjects by girls in single-sex settings? I teach science and maths, the problem comes into the classroom from outside. It's not teachers being sexist (mostly, though a female physics PhD student I was at uni with had a horrible time from one of the senior professors), it's society that expects male builders and engineers, female nurses and primary teachers. Children of either gender aren't keen on being seen as different, and a great many people enforce "that's for girls" and "only boys do that" from a very early age. You only have to walk into a toy shop and see the toys divided by gender.

    Midwives are a slightly different issue as it is dealing with something that can only affect women, and while in a perfectly spherical egalitarian society the gender of the midwife is not going to matter, I think the labour ward is probably not the place to start the fight. When women are in that position I think they can be forgiven with wanting whatever feels most comfortable.

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