What do we mean when we define a female character as “strong”? When an actress is the protagonist, her conflict is decidedly different than the average male protagonist’s: In literary terms, we often see the female protagonist engaged in a “man vs. self” struggle, while male protagonists wrestle with outside forces. The point is not at all that any one iteration of female “strength” is more admirable – more worthy of depiction on-screen – than another, but rather than our female characters consistently demonstrate one kind of strength while our male characters demonstrate another. Furthermore, when our female characters demonstrate stereotypically “male” strength, they do not win the awards.
These complications of storytelling are all exacerbated by Hollywood demographics :...read more
Sorry for the light posting — I am doing my taxes today, which is a true joy when you’re a freelancer and have approximately 9,000 different sources of income. In the meantime, read and discuss this article on pay equality....read more
The Gender Education Achievement Gap: how it used to be, what changed, what “they” say, what researchers say, and the way forward
Many observers believe that boys’ lower engagement with school is a result of biological differences between males and females. They say that boys need to engage in rough and tumble play, get their hands dirty, build things, and read books about war, espionage and sports if they are supposed to learn. Boys fail, they claim, because schools do not give boys enough opportunities to do “boy” stuff.
We do not agree. Our research shows that boys’ underperformance in school has more to do with society’s norms about masculinity than with anatomy, hormones or brain structure. In fact, boys involved in extracurricular cultural activities such as music, art, drama, and foreign languages report higher levels of school engagement and get better grades than other boys. But these cultural activities are often denigrated as un-masculine by pre-adolescent and adolescent boys — especially those from working- or lower-class backgrounds. Sociologists C.J. Pascoe and Edward Morris relate numerous examples of boys who strive for good grades as being labeled “pussies” or “fags” by their peers.
Commentators who emphasize boys’ special needs usually propose that wemake schools more “boy-friendly” by offering single-sex classrooms where “boys can be boys,” by recruiting more male teachers, and by providing more rough and tumble activities. Our research shows that, contrary to what is rapidly becoming “conventional wisdom,” this is precisely the wrong strategy. Most boys and girls learn more in classrooms where girls are present. In classrooms with more girls, both boys and girls score higher on math and reading tests. And several recent studies refute the claim that teacher gender matters for boys’ or girls’ achievement.
Here’s something that should make you smile-cry of a Monday morning: Feminism has met its goals and achieved what it set out to do, and we’ve become equal both in education and in the job market. We’re on top, and that’s why men can slack off and make C’s. It’s time, says University of Nebraska senior Zach Nold, for men to jump up on that pedestal next to women as equals....read more
It needs no re-telling here, but there’s a big gender gap in leadership roles: there are 20 women in the Senate, and that’s a record high. As of November 2012, there are 21 women who are Fortune 500 CEOs – about 4% – and that is also a record high. Yet, women are getting college degrees and entering the workforce at higher rates than men. Between graduating college and reaching senior management, something is stopping women from making it to the top echelons of the workforce...read more
Canadian researchers, writing in Friday’s edition of Science, have generated some extremely interesting data on stereotype effect. Women who were told that men and women do math equally well did much better than those who were told there is a genetic difference in math ability. And women who heard there were differences caused by environment […]...read more
There’s an article in the SF Chronicle today about a transgender professor who’s writing about sexist bias, particularly in the sciences: As an Ivy League-trained neurobiologist who oversees a research lab at Stanford, Ben Barres feels qualified to comment on whether nature or nurture explains the persistent gender gap in the scientific community. But it […]...read more
Echidne would like you to read her series on the gender gap in earnings. It’s quite long, and quite dense, but also quite good. Update: The Guardian reports that one in five UK firms responding to a government study were breaking equal-pay laws, often routinely paying men more than women in the same job....read more
By Majikthise (be sure to read the comments) When a gender gap that favors boys, the proposed solutions generally involve changing girls to meet the prevailing ideal. This is usually the most sensible way to approach the problem. Girls are underperforming in math and science? Well, then we should keep up the emphasis on math […]...read more