Gender Equity in Education
Gender equity issues in mathematics and science have been the focus of many educators and researchers for years. Women have often been denied an equal education in math and science for many reasons. Parents and teachers must realize this fact and change their habits wherever necessary. Girls must be given the same opportunity as boys from the beginning, particularly in math and science where girls tend to lag behind.
First of all, the term gender equity must be defined. Gender not only includes the concept of sex, but all the social and cultural meanings that go along with being either male or female. Every interaction that takes place is in relation to the sex of those involved in it, therefore sex may be considered central to those interactions. Equity is "justice, impartiality, the giving or desiring to give each person his or her due." Gender equity may then be defined as being free from any kind of discrimination based on sex; males and females considered equal in every possible way (Hilke & Conway-Gerhardt, 1994). Gender equity has been addressed in many schools, articles and books in the past and is still an issue today. One idea that must be considered is the difference that exists between girls and boys in the areas of math and science.
Many ideas are involved in the issue of why girls are behind boys in math and science. The first factor is how parents treat their children. Parents have one of the greatest, if not the greatest influence, on their children’s lives and life choices. Their attitudes about such things as traditional jobs for women and treating girls differently than boys when dealing with school will often effect their children, especially their daughters. Expectations and experiences girls have with their family are more likely to effect the way they make their decisions than their innate ability ("Expect the Best", n.d.). Parents also have a vital role in influencing the career path their children choose. Children look to their parents as role models and for approval, and parents attitudes and actions will influence their children. They also take into account what job their mother has as compared to their father. In many cases, children start to associate gender with particular jobs when they are very young due to their family life(Stitt, 1988). Stereotypes, like those, are brought forth to girls everyday, ranging from the traditional female jobs to males being more intelligent than females. One example is the fact that there aren’t as many women as men in jobs such as scientists and doctors. Girls often don’t question this idea because it is reinforced by so many people. These stereotypes sometimes get adopted by girls because of this constant reinforcement. Parents have the opportunity either to invalidate these stereotypes or confirm them by their actions and words. They must reassure their children that girls can participate in anything they...