IWL Presents: What Are We Reading This Week?

By Lindsey Oliver ’16

This week, the article up for discussion is, “How co-ed classrooms are holding back future female leaders,” by Kim Getty, president of Deutsch LA. Kim recently attended a presentation that explained the benefits of sending your daughter(s) to an all-girls school, and the lasting effects it can have on her development and future success. The concepts that laid the foundation for the overall presentation were inspired by Bernice Sandler, senior scholar at the Women’s Research and Education Institute in Washington, D.C., who has made some key observations about co-ed classrooms such as:

  • Girls are interrupted more than boys.
  • Boys tend to be asked “thinking questions” and girls tend to be asked “factual questions.” Example: Why did the revolution happen versus when did the revolution happen?
  • Boys receive more eye contact in a classroom than girls.
  • From a young age, more boys raise their hands in school than girls. (The theory? Girls worry that they might be wrong, and boys have more confidence.)

The overarching example was this: “We have only had three women in this country serve as Secretary of State: Madeleine Albright, Condoleeza Rice, and Hillary Clinton; each of them attended a women’s school or college” (Getty).

Getty makes valid points that have been proven time and time again. Some do not believe same-sex schools are beneficial because women need to learn to communicate with, work/collaborate with, and co-exist with men before they enter the workforce. Should we continue to have our daughters attend co-ed schools and teach them how to overcome these “setbacks,” or have them attend all-girls schools so they feel more comfortable, at least during the developmental years? Maybe teachers and professors have a greater impact than we thought. Is it up to them to set the tone and provide an atmosphere where all feel they can contribute and learn effectively?

Leave a Reply