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Using Material From Item A And Elsewhere, Assess The Claim That Gender Differences In Educational Achievement Are Primarily The ‘Result Of Changes In Wider Society

1056 words - 5 pages

January 2010

Item A
Although the educational performance of both girls and boys has improved over the past twenty years, a significant gender gap in achievement has developed. Girls now outperform boys in most subjects and at most levels of education. This is especially true of pupils at GCSE where 10% more girls than boys achieve five or more A* – C grades.

Some sociologists claim that gender differences in achievement are the result of changes in wider society, such as the impact of feminist ideas and changing employment opportunities for both girls and boys. However, others argue that the education system has become ‘feminised’, for example through an emphasis on coursework in ...view middle of the document...

This is an incredible change from the norms and values of, say; the 1940’s where any female role that wasn’t a mother or housewife was deemed as unacceptable and out of the norm. Furthermore, a new take on life like this, has spurred young women to challenge the workplace and create brand new areas of employment available. Although the glass ceiling effect is still firmly in place, there is a larger opportunity for women in terms of jobs. A change in beliefs like this allow girls to aim for something more in life and can influence them to push their own boundaries in their studies and gives them the incentive to seek economic independence. However it is another story for boys within employment as masculine jobs are diminishing causing boys to adapt and essentially give up trying to succeed in their education.

Another aspect of wider society that may influence gender achievement would be changes in the family. A society that was once built of mostly traditional families is now a lot more varied with lone parent families becoming more and more of a norm. Having a single parent family in which the father is absent, can have positive effects on girls but a negative effect on boys in relevance to their performance in schools. For example, a girl brought up, only, by their mother will witness their parent taking on the roles of the father also and acting as the breadwinner for the family. This may spur the girl on to succeed as it has been proven to them that they can fulfil both roles in their lives, they don’t need a male helping hand. But if a boy were to be brought up by a single mother, they would likely be lacking a male figure in their lives which would alter the way they behave, perhaps adopting more feminine habits and interests due to a lack of exposure to masculinity. This can cause many issues later in life, such as upon entering education in which boys are expected to act a certain way in order to fit in with the other members of their sex, and can cause them to feel isolated and may lead to bullying, which in turn can...

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