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Gender Inequity Essay, Research Paper

Leann J. Mudry Mrs. C. Pawluk Women Studies 31G June 16, 1998Gender inequity in Oak Park High School This research paper is concerning gender inequity in one school in Oak Park High School. Oak Park High is the school that I am attending at this present time. When I was asked to do a reseat paper, and to pick a topic, I was very stumped. The topic of gender inequity came to me as a subject matter for this paper when, my teacher Mrs. Pawluk asked me to write about what ever first popped into my mind. My first thought was gender inequity at Oak Park. I believe gender inequity came to mind first because we had recently been studying harassment in our school. Gender inequity had come up in a few of our harassment scenes that we had done in class (the harassment scenes had been an attempt to see if “we” could change some of the harassment problems at Oak Park). I constructed a survey of 13 questions and asked 30 people to complete my survey. I will be referring to this survey quite a bit throughout my paper. I am hoping that my survey results help to back up my opinion that, there is a gender inequity problem in this school. I will be referring to teachers that I have talked to concerning this topic. I will also be referring to student s opinion on this subject. My last reference will be mentioned throughout this paper it is from a reference book called: introduction to women studies. The section I used in introduction to women studies as my source was written by Valarie Hey. What is gender inequity in schools? This was the first question that came to my mind when I had first been introduced to this subject. In my own opinion gender inequity in schools is when a male or female is discriminated against or harassed because of their gender. According to the Webster s dictionary (1989 edition) the following words are defined as follows: -In-e-qual-I-ty (in-i kwal -a-ti-) n. want of equality; disparity; inadequacy; unevenness. Page 192. -Gen-der (jen der) n. (colloq.) sex, male or female; (Gram.) the classification of nouns According to sex (actual or attributed) or animateness [ L. genus, generis, a kind]. Page 160. -In-eq-ui-ta-ble (in-ek -wi-ta-bl) a. not fair or just; not according to equity. Page 192. The definitions given by Webster s dictionary describe: unfairness and not just as some of the examples for inequitable. I agree firmly that gender inequity is not just or unfair. In the following paragraphs I hope to prove just how unfair and unjust gender inequity in Oak Park is. I constructed a survey with 30 people in Oak Park. In this survey I asked the question do you feel that one gender gets in more trouble than the other? ( in school) . The results were surprising, 23 people said yes they do feel that one gender gets in more trouble than the other does. 7 people said no they do not feel that one gender gets in more trouble than the other does. Out of those 23 people who said yes they do think one gender gets in more trouble than the other in school, they were asked another question. The question was what gender do you feel gets in trouble more than the other? . 21 out of 23 people said they think that males get in more trouble than females. 2 people said they think females get in more trouble than males. I was very pleased with the results of these two questions, because the majority of people said that yes , one gender gets in trouble more than the other in school and the majority also said that it was males who got in trouble more than females. I am very pleased with these results because I had had the same assumptions. From the time I had entered kindergaden I noticed it was more than 85% of the time males who would get in trouble for being loud or out spoken. Even now being in S3 I still notice the male students being punished or disciplined more than the female students. One incident that I noticed happened approximately a week ago from today. I was sitting in my C period class, when the teacher decided that this one male student deserved to go in the hall, because he did not have his books open. At that very moment I noticed a female student who didn t even have her books in class and was talking to some one behind her (in other words she was disrupting the class) all that she was told was to, turn around and listen. This happens very frequently in a lot of my classes, not just that one class, maybe it s because the teacher didn t notice that the female student didn t have her books in class that she wasn t punished the same as the male student. Later that day I was talking to my art teacher Mrs. Kogan and told her about the results of my survey. I asked her why do you think guy students get in more trouble than the girls students? . She replied I think because the male students are easier to catch doing some thing wrong, the female students are more subtle about doing things they aren t supposed to . I thought about what my teacher had said and it made a lot of sense to me. Male students had usually got in trouble for loudness. The only time girls got caught doing some thing they weren t supposed to was when they passed notes or did something obvious. Male students in my experience tended to be more obvious they would get in trouble for fighting, yelling or saying uncalled for things to the whole class.

Gender inequity also comes into play when it is time to for the students to make their course selection. I feel that each gender is pushed into a certain part of the curriculum. Oak Park has a very good athletics department, where both female and male students are encouraged to play sports. I feel that that is great but in other parts of the curriculum such as home economics its is still considered a females class. Male students have gotten harassed by their male friends for taking this course, I have seen this happen I am not just talking hypothetically. The following chart is from the following: Hey,Valarie, inequity in schools. Introduction to Women Studies. Page72 GCSE males females Biology ..38.9%. 61.1% Chemistry ..55.1%. 44.9% Economics 61.4% 38.6% English . 49.7% .58.2% French .. 41.8% .58.2% Geography 57.9%. .42.1% History . 48.3% ..51.2% Math . 48.3% .51.2% Physics . 70.0% .29.2% This chart shows that only 8 years ago the male students were pulling ahead in the sciences. I recall a story my mother told me about schooling in her day. She said When I went to school boys took shops and girls took home economics and that s just the way it was. When she told me this I was only in grade nine and I remember asking her what did you make when you were in wood working, mom? . Only to find out at that time it wasn t heard of for girls to take shops. I thought wow things have changed a lot since my mom was in school, but now when I think about it things haven t changed that much if a guy is going to be called gay just for enrolling in a home economics class. When I began to think about the whole idea of gender inequity in school grades or why students enroll in the classes that they do?. I searched for an expert s opinion and this is what I found: Patricia Murphy s research into how gender expectations mark a subject or a subject content as appropriate reminds us of the way in which gender permeates our ways of thinking and feeling. Girls or Boys. Girls or boys are not simply pushed into specific parts of the curriculum. they appeared to jump that sense could be said to choose Hey, Valarie, gender inequity in schools. Introduction to Women Studies. Page73, paragraph 4. I agree that we are not pushed. We jump. I think this all goes back to the agents of socialization. The media tells us from the time we are little that boys play with trucks and guns. Girls play with easy bake ovens and kitchen sets. Turn on the television for two seconds and you ll see a commercial with a woman cleaning a bathroom. We can t blame the schools or the students, it s just the way we were brought up our parents taught us and their parents taught them. Its like a big chain and the chain is hard to break. I have had many heated discussions on this topic in class and out of class. I believe it is a tough subject to solve. Gender inequity ties in with almost every thing that I have discussed with my women studies class, for example: We talked about men s roles and women s roles in society. Oak Park is the little society that I work in almost every day. The men and women s roles are very defined. The men tend to be the class clowns, the ones to get in trouble a lot. The women are the ones who are supposed to be very together, they are expected to do good. I m not saying that this is how it actually is at Oak Park , I m just saying these are some of the stereo types we face every day. These stereotypes come from a multitude of places e.g.: Our past, the way we are brought up by are parents, media, religion( this also ties into our past and what we are accustomed to). I am coming to a conclusion in this research paper, but before I do there is one thing I need to talk about. What have I learned in doing this research paper? I have learned many things. The first thing I learned is that not everyone shares my opinions. Before this paper I thought my opinions were pretty much the same as every one else s, I realized that is not true and this is why other peoples opinions are needed to have a complete research paper. I have learned that schools have not changed a great deal since my mother went to school. I am talking about the fact that people narrow-minded thoughts and rudeness has not changed. I have learned that school is like our own little society within a big society rules, punishment, friend family and learning all exist in this one building. Research papers are not easy to do, It is a long process of writing thinking reading and asking questions, before you come up with a product. I believe this paper has prepared me for research papers in the future because it showed me your thoughts and opinions are not enough. Inequity in schools is very real today and in history. It exists. Students being treated unfairly because of their gender exists today. Students today are still pressured into certain classes. Gender plays a part in every thing we do we can not leave it at home when we go to school. If we could we would not have this problem, but seen as how we can t this problem exists. I think if we brought this subject into the open we could all work on a solution. The first step is to realize it is happening in our school and it is a problem.

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