IUBio GIL .. BIOSCI/Bionet News .. Biosequences .. Software .. FTP

RE. groups of women

Jane Harrison JEB.Harrison at auckland.ac.nz
Tue Jun 21 01:51:54 EST 1994

In article <CrK11t.181 at mozo.cc.purdue.edu>, oommen at brazil.psych.purdue.edu
(Mona Oommen) wrote:
> In article <199406171514.IAA02965 at net.bio.net> susan_forsburg at QM.SALK.EDU ("Susan 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.
> >
> >susan
> >
> 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
> somehow.
> 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?
> Mona

I was at a co-ed school where in some classes for science there were only
two or three women thrown in with 15 or twenty males.  The women formed
groups when we were split up for projects although in one class the lack of
equipment lead to the disbanding of the womens group and we were put into
the males groups, where we were told in no uncertain terms that we were not
to touch the equipment- Imagine my joy when this particular individual
messed up the experiment so badly that he broke one of the two remaining
sets of equipment.

Going through the co-ed school  made me very assertive and confident when
it came to determining what I wanted in my education- whether this was the
overwealming number of males in the classes that did this is a questionable

There are no single sex universities (colleges?) in NZ, so I can't compare
what the US sitution with my own too well.  The other females i have met
who also went through co-ed schools like mine, also have tended to be very
assertive and confident- but maybe this is only that the strong survive to
get to University.  Unfortunately I don't know of anyone who was in my
classes who went to a single sex school (there aren't that many in NZ).  

When I was helping to teach undergraduate labs, I found that the women in
the groups were often left to do the paper work, but they often asked the
more probing questions than the males.  The all female groups did just as
well as the mixed and all male groups.  Once i saw an adult student
(female) who had teamed up with a very bright male and was forcing him to
teach her the background that she had missed, this was a great arrangement
i thought.

Just my $0.02

Jane Harrison                       "All Opinions are Mine and Mine alone"
Molecular Medicine
University of Auckland              'Science is like being God, only I have
Private Bag 92019, Auckland, NZ      time and budget constraints'
Voice 64 9 373 7599x6718/6275
Email JEB.Harrison at auckland.ac.nz

More information about the Womenbio mailing list

Send comments to us at archive@iubioarchive.bio.net