There are three main types of question for gender and education – achievement (why do girls generally do better than boys); subject choice (why do they choose different subjects) and the trickier question of how gender identities affect experience of schooling and how school affects gender identities.
Below is the briefest of overviews(*it would be a grid, but wordpress doesn’t like them, so it’s just linear!) designed to cover all three areas within gender and education for A level sociology.
- In the 1980s boys used outperform girls
- Today, girls do better than boys by about 8% points at GCSE.
- There are about 30% more girls in University than boys.
- Subject choice remains heavily ‘gendered’
- Typical boys subjects = computing/ VOCATIONAL especially trades/ engineering
- Typical girls subjects = dance, sociology, humanities, English, hair and beauty.
Experience of Schooling/ Gender Identity
- Pupils’ gender identities may influence the way they experience school.
- Schools may reinforce traditional (hegemonic) and femininity
- Gender identity varies by social class and ethnicity.
Out of School and Home Factors
- Changes in Employment – Rise of the service, decline in manufacturing sector, crisis of masculinity.
- Changes in the family – dual earner households, more female worker role models. LINK TO FAMILY MODULE
- Changing girls’ ambitions – from marriage and family to career and money (Sue Sharp)
- Differential socialisation –girls socialised to be more passive/ toys related to different subjects (Becky Francis) LINK TO FUNCTIONALISM/ PARSONS.
- Parental attitudes – traditional working class dads may expect boys to not try hard at schoo.
- Impact of Feminism – equal opportunity policies.
- Policy changes – introduction of coursework in 1988/ scaling back of coursework in 2015.
In School Factors
- Teacher Labelling – typical boys = disruptive, low expectation, typical girls = studious, high expectations (Jon Abraham) – LINK TO INTERACTIONISM, Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
- Subcultures –boys more likely to form counter-school cultures (Willis) – LINKS to out of school.
- Feminisation of teaching – increase in female teachers puts boys off
- Subject counsellors advise boys to choose boys subjects
- Gendered subject images match traditional gender domains
- Boys’ domination of equipment puts girls off practical subjects like PE
- Traditional masculine identities – boys just don’t see school as a ‘boy thing’ – Working class boys saw school as ‘queer’, middle class work hard but hide this (Mac An Ghail)
- Hyper-Feminine identities (hair/ make up) clash with the school (Carolyn Jackson)
Verbal Abuse – boys who study hard get called ‘gay’ as a term of abuse.
Be sure to check the more detailed revision sheets for each of the 3 sub topics above!
You could also link in different types of Feminism to many of these subtopics