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PAST TO PRESENT:  Gender Inequality in Schools
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PAST TO PRESENT: Gender Inequality in Schools

January 21, 2020 | PBAT MAGAZINE

By Mahnoor Fatima, Qingfa Feng, MeiTong Li  & Kevin Oritz 

“Some times as educators we unintentionally contribute to inequality and we don't recognize that we are really treating boys and girls differently. My whole life I have been trained by society to look at boys and girls differently. I think it is important that we examine or practices and look for ways that inequity exists.” The quote is from Mr. Kevin Hesseltine, principal of the Flushing International High School (FIHS). Mr. Hesseltine is the new Principal of FIHS, a school for recent immigrants, who are new to english. He is really experienced because he has been teaching students for 21 years, Principal Hesseltine doesn’t feel that FIHS is consciously treating  students unequally, but sometimes as an educator, it is his role to recognize how he is contributing to gender inequality.

Flushing International High School was opened in September 2004. There are 452 students in FIHS in the school year of 2019-2020 with the total number of 261 male students and 191 Female students. FIHS is known as a really diverse school with students from different countries. FIHS have 3 sport teams for girls and 4 sport teams for boys. Principal Hesseltine expressed that as a principal he wants equality in his school and to make students feel treated fairly He believes that it is important to  treat students as individuals not all exactly the same, each student needs different things depending on the student, adapting to the situation.

During our interview, Principal Hesseltine discussed how when he was a teacher he did a survey in school to find is there any gender inequality in school or no. At the end of his interview he said he wanted to know if there is inequality in the school or not. He said it's hard to figure out gender inequality and it's a really serious topic because the student development based on the way they are treated in school and every person point of view is different he has one son and one daughter and they have the same teacher but their point of view for the teacher is different from each other.

Gender inequality is a serious issue in the whole country and in the world but many studies primarily focus on the inequality in the workplace.However, for many, their experience with gender inequality starts from school and because as young people they spend their most of the time in school and school also have a big impact on the student development. To investigate whether gender inequality is a problem today, we conducted interviews with various people and also conducted surveys of three different groups of people, high school students, teachers and college students. From our investigation we have found that Gender inequality in school is a serious issue and there is still some gender inequality in schools.












Survey at NYU

We did a Survey outside the school in NYU Washington Square Park of 13 peoples in which 9 were college students and 4 were not a student  and 12 of them believe gender inequality in education is a problem and 1 believe its not a problem. Majority of them believe they have some gender inequality in their colleges Of them 8 people believe girls are being hurt by gender inequality 2 people believe both girls and boys are being hurt by gender inequality 3 believe transgender or other noncomforming genders are being hurt by gender inequality. One female student from Pakistan said during the survey that gender inequality in school is more apparent in other countries, but it's not as worse as it was in the past.


Teacher Survey Results    


Teacher survey was anonymous because being anonymous we can find the truth more than knowing names before doing the anonymous survey we did another survey where the name was optional but they have to provide which grade and subject they teach and we thought this survey will be biased so then as a group we decided to do an anonymous survey.


Midtown Manhattan School with separate gender entrances

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Teacher Interview

Mr Gustavo a Technology Specialist of FIHS said he never faced gender inequality, but he says he saw gender inequality more with girls when he was in middle school and still now he says the gender inequality is happening more with girls. Also Mr.Gustavo say our school also has some gender inequality. 

But we can stop gender inequality by stop doing this and start to  treat everyone the same because everyone is equal.Gustavo say women are normally the one who faced more gender inequality in schools also in work and his opinion is the gender inequality obviously is wrong but  is the biggest problem in society with women and men treat different. And Gustavo say we can stop this by teaching children to treat everyone with respect and treat the same because there is no differences between boys and girls we need to teach young people with education.

I try very hard to treat boys and girls equally in my class.But there may be a time I am biased without realizing it.I do think there’s is some gender .I went to a highschool for girls only and I think it made me feel very confident to speak up and give my opinion and to become a teacher.I feel that I have been very lucky in my life because I know many women who have faced gender inequality much more than I have.


FIHS Jumprope Data Analysis

As the school Assistant Principal Ms. Rosmery often looks at data about the school’s students. “The data is from the FIHS fall semester of 2018 it's part of project of the equity team. Our goal was to look at data from discipline and academic and regards to enrichment and power engagement.We look at very wide range of data because the district had given the data on school suspension so we don't have many suspension so we decided to think of  discipline we will focus on jumprope comments and the disciplinary comment which teacher writes for a specific student. We looked to see if the likelihood of being getting negative disciplinary comments was for male or female or whether it was the same so we calculate the relative risk and this tell how many time boys are likely to receive a disciplinary comment and how many times girls are.We look at what were the comments focus on our reasons so than divide the data with the reason of releasing negative comment. Also collect the data of school year 2017-2018 and also look at the data of 2 weeks of the month of october regards to referral administrator how often the student were sent vice principal or principal because of misbehaving or other issues.” said Ms. Rosmery.


From the data one very startling result appeared. “We only did for 2 weeks in order to have data and we don't have necessarily have the system in our school where we keep constantly check the referral and only 21 students were sent 20 boys and 1 girl” said Ms. Rosmery. So boys were sent for referral for administration 20 times more than girls. That is a very big difference, which Ms. Rosmery and the entire school will be looking into more.


History of Gender Inequality in the U.S.

Women have a hard time gaining equality in many aspects of life in America and it is the same with education. There was a school name Salem and is the first  and oldest school in 1772 on giving education for women. Later, Columbia Female Academy was opened in 1833, and it became a full college and exists today as Stephens College. Where men once went to college in proportions far higher than women 58 percent to 42 percent as recently as the 1970s the ratio has now almost exactly reversed.

In fall 2017, female students made up 56 percent of total undergraduate enrollment (9.4 million students), and male students made up 44 percent (7.3 million students). Between 2000 and 2017, enrollment for both groups showed similar patterns of change: both female and male enrollments increased between 2000 and 2010 (by 39 percent and 36 percent, respectively) and then decreased between 2010 and 2017 (by 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively). Between 2017 and 2028, female and male enrollments are projected to increase by 3 percent each (from 9.4 million to 9.7 million students and from 7.3 million to 7.5 million students, respectively).

Since the enrollment rates of 5- and 6-year-olds, 7- to 13-year-olds, and 14- to 17-year-olds changed by fewer than 4 percentage points from 1985 to 2017, overall increases in public school enrollment primarily reflect increases in the number of children in these age groups (table 101.10 and table 103.20). For example, the enrollment rate of 7- to 13-year-olds decreased from 99 to 98 percent between 1985 and 2017, but the number of 7- to 13-year-olds increased 26 percent. Similarly, increases in public secondary school enrollment are more reflective of the 13 percent increase in the 14- to 17-year-old population between 1985 and 2017 than the enrollment rates for these years, which were not measurably different (about 95 to 96 percent for both years). The enrollment rate of 3- and 4-year-olds increased from 39 percent in 1985 to 54 percent in 2017, which contributed to the overall enrollment increase. Also, the number of children in this age group increased from 7.1 million in 1985 to 8.0 million in 2017.

Title IX   

Title IX is a federal law benefits everyone girls and boys, women and men. The law requires all schools and colleges to maintain policies, practices and programs that do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender. Title IX helps women fight against gender inequality because women have faced a lot of  restrictions and barriers in getting the same education as men. However, Title IX also has benefited and help men and boys the same way as women and to achieve educational equality it has benefited every gender and created a school environment in which all students learn and get the same educational standards for example Title IX.


Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” “Title IX applies to all schools and colleges no matter its public and private, that receive federal funds. All private colleges and universities must comply with Title IX regulations because they receive federal funding through federal financial aid programs used by their students. Title IX applies to every aspect of education which include Financial assistance, Course offerings, Counseling and counseling materials, Student health insurance benefits, Housing, Employment, Physical Education and Athletics”.

No person in the United States, for reasons of sex, will be excluded from participation, benefits will be denied or subject to discrimination no matter if they are public and private, what federal federal private funds will comply with Title IX regulations because they receive federal funds through programs Title IX applies to all aspects of education, including financial assistance, medical insurance benefits for students, housing, employment, physical education and athletics. To follow with Title IX's participation requirement, an institution must meet one of the following three tests any one have to receive.

  1. Provide equal participation opportunities for women and men that are substantially proportional to their respective rates of enrollment of full-time students.

  2. Demonstrate a history and continuing practice of program expansion for the underrepresented sex.

  3. Fully and effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex.

Significantly, York College Athletic Director, Carl Christian, said that because of  Title IX law boys and girls should have equal number of team, but it also depends on the population of girls and boys in our college which ever gender is more in the college should have more sport teams and in our college we have more girls so we have 9 sport teams for girls and 8 sport team for boys. York College gives equal opportunities to boys and girls and the coaches and Athletic Director follow Title IX law to approve number of sport teams. Since Title IX’s inception in 1972, women and girls have made great strides in obtaining gender equity, not only in the classroom but also on the playing field.There is nothing in Title IX or its policies that require schools to cut or reduce men’s opportunities in order to be Title IX compliant.


The survey of NYU park prove that gender inequality in education is a serious problem and girls face gender inequality more than boys and it's also a problem for other gender and they all have faced gender inequality in education in some phases of life. They believe they have some gender inequality in there college. The survey of FIHS prove that gender inequality exists in the school, but there is not a lot of the case.  According to data and charts from FIHS students, most students think gender equality, but still some students feel gender inequality.  Then we also get survey from FIHS teachers, their thoughts about it is gender inequality in school is a serious problem and most teachers treat the students are equality.  As a result, the gender inequality exists in schools. Students are being affected and treated differently based on their gender and alot of students don't want to go to school because they might faced gender inequality in one way or another and student feel they are rejected or known as weaker gender than another.

Gender inequality makes them feel they are not capable enough to continue their education. Gender inequality in schools still exists even after Title IX law and students still feel they are treated unequally so we should stop gender inequality and take action about it because gender inequality in school makes students feel they are not capable or strong enough to get an education and teacher should try to stop unintentional inequality and give both male and female students equal rights.  From survey of FIHS teachers, according the chart most teachers they didn’t faced challenges in their own experience, but most teachers think gender inequality is a serious problem, and only a few teachers don't think it’s a serious problem. Therefore, gender inequality still exists in school.

FIHS Survey Results

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