Seriously? Seriously.

April 28, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Maybe it’s because I was on vacation, but the news that “there’s even a gender wage gap in babysitting” (Maya) saddened me but didn’t outrage me. I suppose it’s also because it was simply too easy to assimilate it into my existing body of knowledge: how women right out of college earn less than men, how men earn more than women even in so-called “feminized” professions, how the gender wage gap exists not just at a national level but also within all racial groups (granting that white women earn more than men of some other racial groups), how… how? How? HOW?!

Today, at any rate, school is in session, and I was beyond outraged to learn there is a gender wage gap in allowances.

Filed Under: Grades 7-12 and PG, gender, gender stereotypes, anti-racism, social justice, Parenting, Feminism, The Faculty Perspective, Current Events

And We're Back!

March 27, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Other than the persistent and depressing cold, which I’ll concede has the virtue of bringing people together united in the strong desire for spring to just come already tinged with a sense of pride that we seem to have survived winter, it’s been a relatively normal return from spring break. The faculty began with an excellent in-service day. We spent the morning thinking about gender and sexual identities and how they relate to adolescent development, and how best to support our students. In the afternoon, we learned about Korean culture and spent time thinking about ways to best support all the English learners in our school. Kids greeted each other with the usual screams and hugs. Classes got back to work with a general good will and air of curiosity, although I’ll admit here that my Humanities 7 class was openly (and occasionally successfully) trying to distract me from starting the brand new unit. They would eventually agree that the unit’s theme would be judging, with the discussion underlining that we were especially looking at how ideals get set, why some ideals end up so superficial, and the sources and effects of judgment on people in general and 7th grade girls in particular.

Wednesday morning, while looking for interesting articles and comments to share on the school’s Twitter stream, I stumbled across an article at edweek.org entitled “Single-Sex Classrooms Making a Comeback for All the Wrong Reasons.” That certainly caught my attention! Reading through it, I felt as though I were in an alternate reality. The concluding sentence, “It seems that there must be a better way to encourage young women, and men, in their academic studies without implementing the archaic practice of total separation in classrooms.” summed up the general drift of the article, and was followed by a question that, in the context of the article, I hope and trust was sincere: “Are you in favor of, or against, single-sex schooling models?”

Filed Under: gender, All-Girls, LGBT Support, gender stereotypes, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, social justice, Girls Schools, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, girls' school, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

To ban or not to ban: "Bossy"

March 13, 2014 by Bill Ivey

“When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’” So begins the website at http://banbossy.com/, a new organization co-founded by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean-In Foundation and the Girl Scouts of America. The website points out that girls’ self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boy’s from elementary to high school, that girls are twice as likely as boys to worry about being called “bossy,” and girls are still called on less and interrupted more in class. (Ban Bossy) There’s no question that we need to do something about that, and there’s no question we know some of the things that work.

On the Girl Scouts’ website, for example, they share the results of a study done in 2008 that showed the following (Girl Scouts):

  • Girls, even at a very young age, have definite ideas about what it means and takes to be a leader.
  • Promoting leadership in girls is primarily a matter of fostering their self-confidence and providing supportive environments in which to acquire leadership experience.
  • To be relevant to and successful with girls, a leadership program must address their aspirational or preferred definition of leadership, their need for emotional safety, and their desire for social and personal development.
  • Girls have a range of “leadership identities,” from strong aspiration to outright rejection of the leadership role.

Filed Under: gender, All-Girls, gender stereotypes, intersectionality, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, anti-racism, social justice, Parenting, On Parenting, community, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, Women in media, girls' school, Current Events, gender activism, Education

Circle of Uniqueness

March 06, 2014 by Bill Ivey

The end does not actually justify the means; the means create the end.
- Gloria Steinem

Filed Under: gender, LGBT Support, gender stereotypes, anti-racism, social justice, community, Acceptance, Gloria Steinem, Feminism, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Current Events, Education, MCLA

Building the Future

February 18, 2014 by Bill Ivey

To enter the toy section of virtually any major store these days, you’d almost think boys and girls were two different species, one of which apparently falls head-over-heels in love with anything pink. Or possibly purple. Yet, whatever sex-based differences may be present at birth and whatever gender-based differences may be acquired from birth on, such extreme gender segregation of toys is a relatively recent phenomenon. In fact, this iconic 1981 Lego ad makes it clear that 33 years ago, girls were perfectly happy to build with traditional Legos, and Lego was willing to advertise that fact.

To be fair, as was noted in an article in the Huffington Post, Judy Lotas, the creative director in charge of Lego’s ad campaign, had to fight to have Rachel Giordano (then age four) included. The mother of two daughters, she knew better when others argued that only boys like to build, and successfully stood her ground (further proof, by the way, that we need more women involved in advertising!). Ms. Giordano and other child models were given about an hour to play with Lego sets, and were then photographed holding their own creations. As it happens, those are also her own clothes (blue jeans and blue t-shirt) she wore in off the street. Maybe it’s that genuine quality that has helped this ad endure.

Filed Under: gender, All-Girls, gender stereotypes, The Girls School Advantage, social justice, Parenting, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, National Engineering Week, girls' school, Current Events, engineering

Sleeves Rolled Up

February 11, 2014 by Bill Ivey

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the Center for Teaching Quality is holding a book chat on Why Gender Matters by Dr. Leonard Sax, the founder and executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education. (NASSPE) His work is centered on the notion that understanding gender differences enables us better to help our students learn.

Filed Under: Teaching, gender, All-Girls, gender stereotypes, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Annie Murphy Paul, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, Feminism, In the Classroom, Scott MacClintic, Education

Dis-empowering the Good Mother myth

January 23, 2014 by Bill Ivey

To evolve as humans, we must let go of behaviors and attitudes that hold the rest of humanity back. - Christy Turlington Burns, from the Introduction to the good mother myth, edited by Avital Norman Nathman.

Filed Under: gender, gender stereotypes, avital norman nathman, social justice, Parenting, Beautifully different, the good mother myth, Feminism

#myfeminismlookslike

December 19, 2013 by Bill Ivey

The other day, the hashtag #myfeminismlookslike (originally begun by the Twitter user @prisonculture) was trending on Twitter, and I added my take on it: "#myfeminismlookslike my students.” They were asked, for the culmination of the Humanities 7 unit on “What makes girls and women feel more or less powerful?”, to write on their current definition of feminism. With their permission, here are extracts from what they came up with:

I feel that feminism is wanting women to have equal rights, opportunities and voices in this world as men do. I don't necessarily feel that it is wanting to completely switch the roles that men and women have right now to put the women on top over men, but I think it is to want equality. I feel that women should have equal rights as men but not more rights than men. Women should be paid the same, get the same jobs, and just overall be given the same amount of power that men have.
- Bekah

Filed Under: gender, All-Girls, gender stereotypes, social justice, Girls Schools, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School

Gender-Coloured Glasses

September 17, 2013 by Bill Ivey

I work hard to listen carefully to my students. It shows respect for them and respect for girls' voices, it gives me a chance to learn from and about them, and it gives me the chance to be a role model to them. Yet I confess, on occasion, I do deliberately interrupt them. One such occasion is when they say "We all think..." and I will interrupt to ask who "we all" is and how they know "we all" think that way. They rephrase, "My two friends here and I think..." and I go back into active listening mode. One of the highlights of the 2009-2010 Humanities 7 class was one February when a student said, "Most of us think..." and then looked at me slyly and said, "Did you notice I said 'most of us'? (I smiled and nodded) See? I have been listening to you!"

Filed Under: gender, gender stereotypes, On Education, Rachel Simmons, social justice, All Girls Education, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Education

In Visible

July 23, 2013 by Bill Ivey

"I guess my position on race is....I see no color. I am an American." - tweet posted July 19, 2013

Filed Under: gender, gender stereotypes, anit-rascism, social justice, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stephen Colbert, SOC, Current Events, Jose Vilson