Gender equity in terms of education is about the socialization of men and women and the results of this process on the life outcomes of the two genders (Husen & Postlethwaite, 1994). In the United States, the education system is required to treat males and females equally. There has been much research done to compare the genders in all areas. In the past, research has found that women fall far behind men in many areas such as math, and science, but men lag behind women in certain areas as well. Over the years, many provisions have been made with the goal of equalizing the treatment of girls and boys in public education. These improvements are proven successful as women, as well as men, are advancing in areas where they tend to lag behind. “ ‘If you look back 30 years, there has been significant progress in all areas.’ she [Sundra Flansburg, director of the Women’s Equity Act Resource Center] said ‘But we have to recognize that a huge amount of work needs to be done before we have gender equitable education’ ” (Isherwood, 2002) The purpose of this research paper is to examine the improvements made for gender equity in education and the gap that remains.
The Past of the Gender Equity Battle
The battle over gender equity in education is not a new issue, but has been a continuous fight for well over a century. In 1881, a group of college graduates met in Boston to discuss enhancing the opportunities for women in America. This group formed the American Association of University Women, or the A.A.U.W. Over the years, the A.A.U.W. has worked for the equal education of both girls and boys. Their first big success was the Education Amendments of 1972, which included Title IX (Lawton, 1994). Title IX stated that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, or denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal assistance” (Zittleman, 2002). This law was most famous for it’s application to college athletics, but also applied to all levels of education.
Two years later, congress enacted the Women’s Educational Equity Act (WEEA), which was designed to set up a network to assist Title IX and to provide grants to help defeat gender bias (Equity Online: WEEA Equity Resource Center, 2002). Basically, this act was the backbone to ensure that Title IX was improving the education system, as intended. The WEEA, in conjunction with Title IX led to enormous changes in public education, and advancements for women in athletics, and academics.
About a decade after Title IX, in 1983, a landmark study was conducted by the Department of Education. This study, called “A Nation at Risk,” used a testing method called the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to evaluate schools and check for gender and minority discrepancies (Jehlen, 2001). In the late 1980’s the A.A.U.W. began to concentrate on funding research on...