Gender inequality in academia

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Gender inequality in education is not always obvious. It builds up gradually, becoming more defined in the latter years of one’s education and even more so in the workplace.

But what is considered gender inequality in academia? Lymonte’ Thomas (11) said, “If a teacher favors girls, then the girls get a one up on the boys and vice versa.”

Gender discrimination can occur between students as well. With competitive programs such as the Optional Program, students often attribute their success or grades to their age, race, intellect, or sex. The old schoolyard chant “boys rule and girls drool” are embodied by current attitudes in the classroom. Gender discrimination  is present, whether the transgressor is student or faculty.

“I read some studies saying that male and female teachers give boys more speaking time in the classroom. They foster boys’ willingness to speak out at a young age and call on boys more even when girls raise their hands, too. I believe this is apparent in most co-ed schools, even ours,” said Jada Thomas (11).

A recent study called “Gender, Debt, and Dropping Out of College” was published by three professors from Ohio State University and Pacific Lutheran University. The researchers analyzed data from a national longitudinal study of youth from 1997 to 2011 funded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The study found that men who drop out face no financial setback in their entry-level salaries. Women, on the other hand, pay an immediate and steep price for dropping out, since female dropouts earn entry-level pay that averages $6,500 a year lower than what their male counterparts earn. So even though more women are enrolling into college and finishing their studies, men will always have an easier transition from school to the workplace.

The national average ACT composite score from 2002–2012, reveals a discrepancy between male and female test takers. Males have higher scores in science, reading, and mathematics. These three sections are geared towards male brains. The typical male will skip to the questions and only read if the question requires him to, some passages require this method to gain more time and the highest scores. Most women are highly analytical, meaning they will spend more time reading each passage and trying to understand the topic before reading the questions, which usually do not require one to read  the entire passage.

Another example of gender discrimination is the number of women admitted into graduate school. Schools like Stanford, Penn State, Princeton, Purdue, and University of California at Berkeley only admit between 12-45 percent of women, regardless of the overwhelming amount of women who are applying.

Jada Thomas said, “ I think [gender bias] is definitely part of why I’m hesitant to speak up in class and part of why I feel guilty and reluctant to jump into class discussions. [This] had an impact on my success in the classroom. I think I can still be successful in class despite [the bias], but it’s an obstacle girls shouldn’t have to face.”

Brittany Haase (11) said, “ [Gender discrimination] hurts self confidence, but it also drives me to work harder.”

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