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RE. groups of women

ebarak at NSF.GOV ebarak at NSF.GOV
Fri Jun 17 15:22:31 EST 1994

I went to an all-girls high school, and then to a sort of a co-ed 
college where the classes were mixed but the girls and boys were 
housed not only in separate dormitories but on separate parts of the 
campus about a half mile apart.  Meals were separate, too.  

In high school, I focused on academics, as did most of us.  In 
college, I also focused on academics --- but I do recall one semester 
when I actually (this is rather embarassing to reveal!) begged the 
editor of our school paper to omit my name from the published Dean's 
List because I didn't want a certain young man to be put off by the 
fact that I was getting better grades than he was.  (In retrospect, of 
course, the guy wasn't worth it, but try telling that to a teenager!  
and the ploy didn't even work, either).

You can interpret that story whichever way you wish!  

My feeling is that same-gender education only works if the teachers 
who are teaching the girls have appropriate respect for the ability of 
girls.  If you have teachers who think they need to focus on 
basketweaving and home economics, and whose expectations of girls are 
less than that of other children the same age, then same-gender 
education can be a much bigger disaster than mixed classes.  On the 
other hand, same-gender education, if done right, can eliminate some 
of the self-fulfilling stereotyping and role-playing that kids will do 
in response to peer pressures and adolescent hormones.  

In other words --- it all depends.  just like everything else in this 

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: RE. groups of women
Author:  Mona Oommen <oommen at brazil.psych.purdue.edu> at NOTE
Date:    6/17/94 6:37 PM

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In article <199406171514.IAA02965 at net.bio.net> susan_forsburg at QM.SALK.EDU ("Susa
n Forsburg") writes:
>> This is really an interesting approach.  I've used it before in other
>> contexts.  I was wondering if anyone has a reference for this particular 
>> study (mixed-gender vs. single-gender groups).  It would be good to be 
>> able to back oneself up when students ask, as they invariably do (and
>> should too).  Thank you.
>> Mona
>When I was an undergraduate, at the beginning of the Chem 1A lab, the lab 
>supervisor announced, "we know that women will not do as well as men in 
>this class."  What was remarkable about this was
>--it was 1980
>--it was at UCBerkeley, a liberal environment 
>--the lab supervisor was herself a woman.
>Oh yes, and women if I recall correctly were 6 out of the top ten students. 
> I often wondered if the supervisor's intent was to make us mad and push us 
>to be good that way--because she did.
Yeah I can understand how this approach would not go over well at all! 
Some people can push ahead, but I'd think a lot more people would be 
squelched.  The other approach seems more motivating and more constructive 

I was wondering how people out there feel about all-womens schools and 
colleges as opposed to co-ed.  I went to a co-ed school and an all-women's 
college and would not repeat the experience ever --but it was a college
in India and was rather Victorian.  Perhaps women's colleges here are 
different?  A cousin of mine goes to a women's school and is planning
to go to an all-women's college (maybe I should have said a "girls'" school). 
It would be interesting to hear other people's views on this.  (My cousin
is here in the US).  Do you think it has an impact on assertiveness/ level 
of achievement/ self-confidence/ what have you?


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