Friday, January 25, 2008

NCGWE Reports on "Title IX at 35"

The National Coalition for Girls and Women in Education has released a report on the status of gender equity in several aspects of education to which Title IX applies. The report, Title IX at 35: Beyond the Headlines, demonstrates that while progress toward gender equity has been made, many challenges still remain. Among its conclusions:
  • Colleges and high schools have significantly increased the number of athletic opportunities offered to women and girls, but female athletes still receive proportionally fewer opportunities, resources, and scholarships than men. Women also are also significantly underrepresented among head coaches and athletic administrators.
  • While the number of girls taking high school science and math courses has increased, women are much less likely to earn a bachelor's degree in many technical fields, including math, physics, and computer science, and engineering. The report attributes this trend to stigmas and stereotypes that female students internalize early on, as well as direct discrimination in which schools are complicit.
  • Schools are also complicit in gender-stereotyping students in vocational programs, resulting in near absolute sex segregation in programs such as, for example, welding (95% male) and cosmetology (98% female).
  • The report made several findings about employment discrimination in education, including the absence of women in positions of leadership (such as principals, only 44% female despite women making up 79% of public school teachers), a greater percentage of women holding part-time/adjunct than full time positions, and persistent wage discrimination against female teachers, instructors, and professors.
  • Sexual harassment targets girls and boys, and is prevalent at all levels of education. 62% of female college students and 61% of male college students report having been harassed at their universities. Among K-12 students, 4 out of 5 report they had experienced some type of harassment.
  • That public schools are increasingly segregating classrooms (and in some cases, entire schools) on the basis of sex, even though gender is not an accurate or consistent determinant of a student's learning style. Sex-segregation perpetuates the educational stereotypes at the root of many of the educational inequities already described, and its careless implementation could undue many of the progress that has already been made.
These are just the highlights; the full report offers much greater detail on all of these points, including citations to the research on which it bases its conclusions. For each of these areas, the report also and it includes recommendations for legislators, regulators, and educational institutions.