Well, it seems like I have been away for a much longer time that I actually have. I feel like I am so far behind in everything. But, I am happy to report that my family is doing better. They are not 100% yet, but better.
I did manage to read Solomon chapter 9 and as a woman and mother of two daughters found the information very interesting. Some of the ideas were not new to me, but I was not aware of the amount of research and effort that has been made to try to understand the differences between the ways that males and females look upon computer use and I must add that I am rather delighted with the news.
It’s not a secret that boys and girls have traditionally received different treatment in the classroom and at home. In my way of thinking, it’s still a toss-up as to the exact proportions that society and biological factors have contributed to the situation where we now find ourselves in terms of the gap between male and female interest in careers related to science, math, and computer technology.
A knee-jerk reaction would have me exclaim that girls can do anything that boys can do and I do believe that. But, I have also observed the fact that many girls simply aren’t interested in the same careers as boys. Part of the reason for their respective career goals could be the result of the way that they have been socialized to think. On the other hand, it could be brain structure and genetics, but then has brain functioning developed this way because of societal influences? We are back to nature vs. nurture with a twist of sex differences.
According to Solomon on the issue of single-sex classrooms, “One outcome that appeared to be stable was that girls in single-sex classrooms had less stereotypical views of gender roles than girls in coeducational schools.” This might be a good way to teach girls, but eventually they are going to have to compete with men for jobs so I’m not so sure that is the answer.
With the new age of technology, there is a hint of hope for the prospect of turning education into a more egalitarian endeavor for all concerned parties. But, we are dealing with major attitude changes (think Mount Everest) that must be overcome and will take time. As educators we are in a position to affect, indeed manipulate, change that can propel our society in a different direction. I think it is worth the effort because if we define equity as a state of being that reflect fairness for all, I believe that this is something that we should always strive for not only in education but in all that we do.
This blog http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/highschool/02/13/female.official.ap/index.html?cnn=yes about a female referee who was told that she could not referee a boys’ game because she could not be put in charge of a group of boys is only one example of the type of problems that we must deal with on our way to gender equity. A detail that makes this an interesting read is the fact that a male referee who is asked to replace her refuses to do so and he comments that he does not agree with the decision to replace her because she is a competent referee. Maybe we are already making strides.