Gender Bias in the Classroom

February 15, 2017

School has always been a place where I’ve succeeded. I strive to get good grades, I pay attention in class, I respect my teachers, and I enjoy learning new things each day. I have big plans for my future, and I intend on living them out. But as a girl, I do face obstacles in and out of the classroom.


Gender bias that exists within the school systems is very real, and I have personally experienced it without even realizing it. Normally, these biases are hidden and the teachers are not even aware of it, but it is very real in today’s society. For instance, teachers tend to be more lenient towards boys during school and on assessments.The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted a study that showed that girls often scored higher than the boys on name blind math tests, but once visible names were on the tests, teachers began to give higher scores to the boys. Also, boys are given more attention in the classroom, and it is more acceptable for them to call out and interrupt during class. While girls are often penalized for being disruptive, “boys will be boys”, so it is considered alright for them to do the same. Time magazine stated that teachers provide more encouragement to boys to seek deeper answers, but reward girls for simply being quiet. It also explained how teachers seem to acknowledge girls, but give praise to boys. This has led to the United States having one of the biggest gender gaps in math and science in the world. The New York Times showed that girls outperformed boys in many countries on a science test given to fifteen-year-olds in 65 different countries. However, while this was the case in many nations, it was not in the United States. This demonstrates the effect that gender bias in the classrooms can have on young female students. Additionally, a poll conducted by the Making Caring Common Project asked teen girls and boys whether they preferred male or female leaders. 23% of girls prefer male leaders to female leaders, while only 8% of girls prefer female leaders to male leaders. 40% of boys preferred male leaders to female leaders, while only 4% of boys preferred female leaders to male leaders. This has proven to be very concerning to young girls who have the disadvantage of growing up in a world where many would like power dominated by men. This puts girls under the assumption that they cannot become leaders and have an impact on our world. These biases discourage young women who aspire to hold a position of power when they grow up, and it is up to today’s society to stop these biases.

A change needs to be made, and it needs to happen now. Awareness needs to be brought to this issue, for many take part in it without even realizing they are. If more people understand the hidden gender biases that they hold, they can learn to get rid of them. This goes for the students, as well as the teachers of schools. The teachers should be informed of the ongoing problem of gender bias during the school day, and they should be taught how to overcome their biases in the classroom. This is very important because they may not even know they possess these biases, and they may not realize the negative effects it can have on their female students. Therefore, the schools should have their teachers learn about what they may be doing wrong when dealing with male and female students. Schools should also be required to educate their teachers on the problems that exist in today’s classrooms regarding gender bias and show them how to give every student a wholesome, equal learning experience. One way this system could be incorporated is by holding workshops that are given to the educators in order to fully explain to them what gender bias in education is, what it means for the students, the effects it has on the students, and how it can be stopped. This is a significant part of ending this issue before it can create lasting impacts on female students that will prevent them from flourishing in school and all throughout their lives.
Girls everywhere should have the right to live their lives and pursue their dreams without their hopes being diminished. They should be given an equal education in order to reach their full potential, and it is up to today’s schools to ensure this. Teachers need to learn to work past their biases, hidden or not, so that everyone is able to receive the best education possible. This has been a continuous problem for many years, and there has been very little to no change. The young girls today are our nation’s future, and it is up to the schools to educate them to be leaders and powerful figures who can achieve anything they put their minds to. A future where girls will grow up to make a difference in the world is very possible, but it requires the schools to overcome their biases that restrict girls from learning all that they can. Schools should not be providing an easier path for boys where they are given more attention, opportunities to learn, and leniency. This pressing issue cannot wait any longer, for the experiences that these girl face in school now will shape who they become as they grow older. These are the girls who will be growing up to become the women in our society, and the need to be prepared to work to achieve great things in our world. The future of our world depends on the young girls of today, and it is crucial that they are given the equal education they deserve.

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