Summaries of AAUW RESEARCH
American Association of University Women
|the Educational Foundation||Eleanor Roosevelt Teacher Fellowships for Equity in Math, Science, Technology||
Online Education Boom Leads to “Third Shift” for Women, New AAUW Study Finds
WASHINGTON—Proving that multi-tasking is more that just a buzzword, a new report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation has found that distance—or online—learning is on the rise and women make up the majority of students. Sixty percent of these nontraditional online learners are over 25 years of age and female.
Working mothers interested in furthering their education are doing so
online and adding a difficult "third shift" to their responsibilities as
mothers and employees, according to the study, The Third Shift: Women
Learning Online, by Cheris
Kramarae, the AAUW Educational Foundation’s 1999-2000 Scholar-in-Residence.
“Technology does not create more hours in a day, but leaves women—who shoulder most of the family and household responsibilities—improvising to squeeze in education,” said Jacqueline Woods, AAUW’s Executive Director. “We need to deal with the time bind that all parents and older students face if we want to make the rhetoric of ‘lifelong learning’ for the ‘information economy’ a reality.”
While most of the over 500 women and men surveyed for the study identify numerous benefits to online learning, many also express anxiety about fulfilling their other roles while having to study, conduct research, and write papers. Many respondents stated that they often do their coursework while other family members are sleeping. “I meet my deadlines at great cost. I lack sleep and lack personal ‘fun’ time for the time being,” said a 40-year old marketing consultant, married with a child at home and working toward a degree through distance learning.
“For all the benefits of distance learning for women, these students still have to make tremendous sacrifices to balance the demands of work, family, and school,” observed Kramarae. “Despite the motivation and dedication online learners demonstrate, our study found that many are still made to feel that they are letting their families down when they try to further their education."
According to the report, the perception of an online learner as a pragmatist, searching for one or two courses “a la carte” to boost their job prospects, may be inaccurate. The majority of virtual students surveyed had educational goals and aspirations similar to those of traditional-age students attending traditional brick and mortar colleges and universities. Most were taking online courses in pursuit of a degree and for the satisfaction of learning and the sense of accomplishment that this would provide. “Online students are seeking the same intellectual engagement and richness that students seek in the traditional context,” commented Kramarae. “It’s important that online learning not give short shrift to these goals and priorities.”
Women give distance learning high marks for many of its qualities:
Many women reported that support at work and at home are important factors in their success. Said one respondent, “My boss … allows me time at work to take on my course assignments.” Women also cite personal traits such as self-motivation, organizational skills, and independence as being important.
Despite the positive aspects of online learning, the women surveyed found a number of factors discouraging, including the cost of tuition and equipment, the often-difficult course load, and the fact that not all distance learning programs are accredited.
Among the report’s recommendations:
Is there a classroom battle of the sexes that girls win only if boys lose and vice versa?
Beyond the “Gender Wars”: A Conversation About Girls, Boys, and Education (2001) offers key insights presented during a Foundation symposium of scholars who study both girls’ and boys’ experiences in and out of school. Participants share their insights about gender identity and difference, challenge popular views of girls’ and boys’ behavior, and explore the meaning of equitable education for the 21st century.
NEW RESEARCH FINDS THAT SEX DISCRIMINATION IS
NOT ADEQUATELY ADDRESSED IN OUR NATION’S SCHOOLS
Schools and universities fail to address student complaints and concerns
Washington, DC, November 14, 2000 – Federally funded schools and universities consistently fail to address student complaints and concerns about sex discrimination and, by doing so, widely ignore federal requirements, according to a new study released today by the American Association of University Women Legal Advocacy Fund (AAUW LAF). The study revealed that sexual harassment was the most common Title IX complaint, accounting for 63% of the cases analyzed. The most startling finding reveals that more than half of the cases alleged sexual harassment of students by teachers and faculty (such as inappropriate touching and offensive comments in the classroom) and that sexual harassment complaints were most prevalent in elementary and secondary schools.
“Sexual harassment is occurring in trusted relationships where for instance a teacher or professor is making a student feel uncomfortable in the classroom,” said Patty McCabe, AAUW LAF Director. “The findings indicate that peer-to-peer sexual harassment is complained of less often which suggests that students feel less threatened by peers because they consider them equals rather than an authority figure.”
The research, A License for Bias, identifies important trends and issues in Title IX non-sports-related complaints. Title IX is the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in institutions of education that receive federal funds.
Title IX violations hurt both female and male students. “The research discredits the popular myth that Title IX protects only women and girls. Almost one-third of the complainants over the four-year investigation period were male,” said McCabe.
The research found that elementary and secondary school males, particularly male students of color, most often complained of unfair discipline including harsher and higher rates of punishment. Male college students complained most often of discrimination in college admissions, financial aid, and testing and evaluation. Females at all levels of education most often complained of sexual harassment.
“The public needs to recognize that Title IX legislation is gender neutral. It benefits women, men, girls and boys by ensuring gender fair schools,” said McCabe
The findings reveal that the federal mandate requiring every publicly funded educational institution to establish grievance procedures for addressing sex discrimination is widely ignored.
“Parents need to be talking with school officials and asking what policies and procedures exist at a particular institution,” said McCabe. “In addition, information needs to be posted for everyone to see so they are aware of what actions violate Title IX and what they can do if something is happening at their school.”
A License for Bias looks to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil rights (OCR) to:
A License for Bias outlines the obstacles to Title IX enforcement efforts and offers action agendas for Congress, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and educational institutions that will accelerate the equity advancements made possible by Title IX.
A License for Bias identifies important trends and issues in Title IX complaints and analyzes the effectiveness of OCR’s enforcement efforts. AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund researchers analyzed 425 Title IX complaints filed with OCR from 1993-1997. OCR is the primary Title IX enforcement agency.
American Association of University Women Legal Advocacy Fund
The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) provides funding and a support system for women fighting sex discrimination in higher education. Since 1981, LAF has helped students, faculty and administrators challenge discriminatory practices involving sexual harassment, denials of tenure or promotion and violations of Title IX. AAUW is the nation’s leading advocate for education and equity for women and girls.
ARE AMERICA’S SCHOOLS LEAVING LATINAS BEHIND?
New Report Identifies Steps to Advance Educational Outcomes
Washington, DC: U.S. schools are not meeting the educational needs of
America’s fastest-growing female minority
to a new report released by the American Association of University
This comprehensive report, ¡Si, Se Puede! Yes, We Can:
Latinas in School, reviews the educational (K-12) status and progress
of Latinas. It explores the cultural interaction between America’s
children and the schools they attend.
Authored by Angela B. Ginorio and Michelle Huston, the report looks at Latinas and how their futures—or "possible selves"—are influenced by their families, their culture, their peers, their teachers, and the media.
The report found that Latinas bring many personal strengths and cultural resources to the schools they attend. For them to become successful, the report contends, schools need to view bilingualism and other values as assets rather than liabilities. For example, "going away to college" is often a high school counselor’s definition of success, but some Latinas, because of family responsibilities, believe it is important to stay close to home.
"Instead of making all students fit into a single educational box, schools need to move out of the box to meet the needs of its changing student population," said Jacqueline Woods, executive director of AAUW.
In spite of the importance of education to the Latino community, family needs and peer pressure often clash with school expectations for Latinas. For example, the report finds that "many Latinas face pressure about going to college from boyfriends and fiances who expect their girlfriends or future wives not to be ‘too educated’ and from peers who accuse them of ‘acting White’ when they attempt to become better educated or spend time on academics."
"Contrary to popular beliefs about Hispanic communities," said Ginorio, "most parents hope that their children will excel in school, yet Latino families’ economic and social position often defer the realization of those dreams. Moreover, school practices such as tracking impose low expectations that create self-fulfilling prophecies."
According to the report, Latinas are lagging behind other racial and ethnic groups of girls in several key measures of educational achievement and have not benefited from gender equity to the extent that other groups of girls have. Analyzing the differences in educational achievement between Latinas and other groups of girls, the report finds that:
"America’s public schools must address the psychological, social, cultural, and community factors that affect the education of Hispanic students," said Woods. "Otherwise, Latinas and Latinos will too often continue to be victims of a second-rate education that can change the American dream into a nightmare. We rely on our schools to open the doors for Latinas and Latinos to higher education and better paying jobs."
The report provides clear and compelling evidence that both Latinas and Latinos face stereotyping and other obstacles that discourage success in school. Some obstacles are different for Latinas than for Latinos. Latinas are three times as likely to fear for their personal safety in school as other girls. And Latinos are often assumed to be gang members by teachers and counselors simply because they speak Spanish.
"If we want Latinas to succeed as other groups of girls have," continued Ginorio, "schools need to work with and not against their families and communities and the strengths that Latinas bring to the classroom. We need to recognize cultural values and help Latinas harmonize these values with girls’ aspirations to education and learning."
The report offers a number of strong recommendations and new approaches:
All adults need to encourage academic success. Latinas need to hear from all the adults in their lives that college and professional careers are rewarding options and ones that they can achieve. Advisors must curtail tendencies to promote gender- and racially stereotyped careers as well as ensure that Latinas are not under-represented in college-preparatory classes.
Recruit and train teachers from the Hispanic community so that we can have educators who can serve as role models and who can better connect the educational goals of the school to the cultural background of its students.
Involve the whole family in the process of college preparation. College requirements need to be demystified and families need to understand longer-term benefits of attending college even if it means moving away from home.
Deal meaningfully with stereotypes and societal issues such as teen pregnancy that impact school performance. This includes offering childcare and alternative scheduling and therefore recognizing that being a young mother and a student intent on completing her education are not incompatible.State-specific data is available for Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, New York, and Texas.
¿ESTÁN ABANDONANDO LAS ESCUELAS ESTADOUNIDENSES A LAS JÓVENES LATINAS?
Un nuevo informe identifica los pasos a tomar para fomentar los resultados educativos
Washington, DC – Las escuelas estadounidenses no están
a las necesidades educativas de la población minoritaria femenina
de más rápido crecimiento en Estados Unidos—las
el nuevo informe publicado hoy
por la Fundación Educativa de la Asociación Americana de Mujeres Universitarias (American Association of University Women—AAUW).
Este extenso informe titulado, ¡Sí, Se Puede! Yes, We Can: Latinas en la escuela, examina el estado educativo (de Kindergarten al 12º año) y el progreso de las jóvenes latinas. El mismo explora las interacciones culturales entre los niños de ascendencia hispana en Estados Unidos y las escuelas a las que asisten. Este informe, escrito por Angela B. Ginorio y Michelle Houston, contempla a las jóvenes latinas y cómo sus futuros—o las "posibles identidades del yo"—se ven influenciados por sus familias, sus culturas, sus compañeros, sus maestros, y los medios de comunicación.
El informe encontró que las jóvenes latinas aportan
fortalezas personales y recursos culturales a las escuelas a las que
Para tener éxito, opina el informe, las escuelas deben abordar el
bilingualismo y otros valores como
ventajas, en lugar de como desventajas. Por ejemplo, "irse de casa a la universidad" a menudo representa la definición del éxito para un consejero escolar; pero debido a sus responsabilidades en la familia, algunas jóvenes latinas estiman que es importarse quedarse cerca de casa.
"En lugar de hacer que todos los alumnos se ajusten a un molde de educación único, las escuelas deben romper el molde para responder a las necesidades de un alumnado que está cambiando," dijo Jacqueline Woods, Directora Ejecutiva de AAUW.
Pese a la importancia que tiene la educación para las
de ascendencia latina, las necesidades de la familia y las presiones de
grupos de compañeros a menudo están en conflicto con las
expectativas que tienen las escuelas de las
jóvenes latinas. Por ejemplo, el informe encontró que "muchas jóvenes latinas encuentran presión relacionada con irse a la universidad de parte de novios o prometidos, quienes esperan que sus novias o futuras esposas no sean ‘demasiado educadas’ y de parte de compañeros que las acusan de ‘actuar como blancas’ cuando intentan educarse mejor o invertir tiempo en actividades académicas."
"A diferencia de las creencias populares acerca de las comunidades de ascendencia hispana," dijo Ginorio, "la mayoría de los padres esperan que sus hijos se destaquen en la escuela, pero la posición económica y social de las familias de ascendencia latina a menudo impide la realización de esos sueños. Lo que es más, las prácticas escolares como carreras académicas, imponen expectativas bajas que se convierten en sus propias realidades."
Según el informe, las jóvenes latinas están rezagadas en comparación con otros grupos étnicos de niñas en varias medidas beneficiado de la equidad de género en la misma medida que otros grupos de niñas. Al analizar las diferencias en logros educativos entre jóvenes latinas y otros grupos de niñas, el informe encontró que:
"Las escuelas públicas de los Estados Unidos deben abordar los factores psicológicos, sociales, culturales, y comunitarios que afectan la educación de los alumnos de ascendencia hispana," dijo Woods. "De otro modo, los alumnos y las alumnas de ascendencia latina continuarán muy frecuentemente siendo víctimas de una educación de segunda categoría que puede convertir el sueño dorado en una pesadilla. Confiamos en que nuestras escuelas abran las puertas a una educación superior y a empleos mejor remunerados para alumnos y alumnas de ascendencia latina."
El informe brinda evidencia clara y precisa que tanto los alumnos como
las alumnas de ascendencia latina se enfrentan a estereotipos y a otros
obstáculos que desaniman el éxito en la escuela. Algunos
obstáculos son distintos para las alumnas
latinas y los alumnos latinos. Las jóvenes latinas tienen tres veces más probabilidades de temer por su seguridad personal en la escuela que otras chicas. A su vez, muchas veces los maestros y consejeros suponen que los alumnos de
ascendencia latina son miembros de pandillas simplemente debido a que hablan español.
"Si queremos que las jóvenes latinas tengan éxito de la misma manera que otros grupos de chicas," continuó Ginorio, "las escuelas deben trabajar con sus familias y comunidades y no en contra de ellas y las fortalezas que aportan las jóvenes latinas al salón de clases. Tenemos que reconocer los valores culturales y ayudar a las jóvenes latinas a armonizar estos valores con sus aspiraciones de educación y aprendizaje."
El informe ofrece un número de recomendaciones fuertes y nuevos enfoques:
Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age (2000)
As violent electronic games and dull programming classes turn off more and more girls, the way information technology is used, applied, and taught in the nation’s classrooms must change, according to a new report, Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age, published by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation.
Tech-Savvy is the culmination of two years of work by the AAUW Educational Foundation Commission on Technology, Gender, and Teacher Education. The report combines the insights of its 14 commissioners (researchers, educators, journalists, and entrepreneurs) at the forefront of cyberculture and education, findings from the Foundation’s online survey of 900 teachers, qualitative focus group research with more than 70 girls, and reviews of existing research.
"The commission makes it clear that girls are critical of the computer culture, not computer phobic," said Sherry Turkle, professor of sociology at MIT and co-chair of the commission. "Instead of trying to make girls fit into the existing computer culture, the computer culture must become more inviting for girls."
"The same reasoning applies to computer games," argued Sharon Schuster, president of the AAUW Educational Foundation. "Computer games don’t have to be the virtual equivalent of GI Joes and Barbies. We have to think less about ‘girls’ games’ and ‘boys’ games’ and more about games that challenge our children’s minds. When it comes to computer games and software, girls want high-skill, not high-kill."
Schuster added, "Although the Foundation convened the commission, in large part, because girls are alarmingly underrepresented in computer science and technology fields, we also recognized that there are much broader issues with regard to gender and technology." Currently:
To address the problems identified in the report, the commission makes a number of key recommendations for schools and communities. Among them:
Members of the Commission:
Co-Chairs: Sherry Turkle, Abby Mauze Rockefeller Professor of the Sociology of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; Patricia Diaz Dennis, Former FCC Commissioner, Senior Vice President—Regulatory and Public Affairs for SBC Communications Inc., San Antonio, Texas
Commissioned by the AAUW Educational Foundation, Tech-Savvy was researched by the AAUW Educational Foundation Commission on Technology, Gender, and Teacher Education.
To purchase a copy of Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age, see the AAUW Sales Catalog (http://www.aauw.org/7000/sales.html) .
For more information about Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, call the Foundation INFOLINE at 202/728-7602 weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time)
Two-thirds of all U.S. students in a nationwide survey say they considered predictions about the economy and the future job market when deciding to go to college—whether coming directly out of high school or returning to post-secondary education from the workforce. While the economy is a significant factor in the decisions of both men and women, the study shows that money matters affect men and women differently. More women than men cite credit card debt and lack of financial aid as obstacles to post-secondary education, and more women feel that better information about financial aid would have made them more likely to go to college (51% to 33%).
These are a few of the findings in a comprehensive report commissioned by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation and researched by DYG, Inc. and Lake Snell Perry and Associates.* Gaining A Foothold: Women’s Transitions Through Work And College is the first study to compare through quantitative and qualitative research on educational decisions, goals, obstacles, and opportunities across three different groups of women: those moving from high school to work, from high school to college, and from work back to post-secondary education.
"If the ‘track,’ ‘pipeline,’ and corporate ‘ladder’ were the straight-line metaphors of work and education in the 20th century, the metaphor of the next century may well be the ‘spiral,’" explains AAUW Educational Foundation President Maggie Ford. "The spiral captures the likelihood that women will move in and out of formal education throughout their lives, by choice or necessity, to fulfill a variety of economic and personal enrichment goals."
Women have a "dual agenda" for going to college. The report finds that whether going to college straight from high school or after working for some time, women attend college for both economic gain and self-fulfillment goals. Yet women in all college-bound groups place more emphasis on self-fulfillment and personal enrichment than do men. (80% of women, as compared to 67% of men in the school-to-college group; and 85% of women, as compared to 78% of men who returned to college from full-time work cite personal enrichment as a very important motivator)
Men and women perceive the transition from high school to work differently. Men and women who moved from high school to full-time work also differ in their perceptions of college and their jobs. More women than men who moved from high school to work say they seriously considered attending college (82% of women, 70% of men), yet describe their decision not to go as one based on circumstances or "forces beyond their control" (26% of women, 15% of men). Women were more likely to characterize their current work as "just a job" (67% of women, 49% of men), rather than a career.
Conversely, men more frequently say that a very important reason they decided to move from high school to full-time work was because they were "never that interested" in college in the first place (26% of men, 15% of women), or that the decision to work was "basically their own choice" (85% of men, 71% of women). More men than women believe they can "get a decent job" without a college degree (24% of men, 14% of women) and more characterize their work as a "career" (51% of men, 26% of women).
Other significant findings from Gaining A Foothold include:
Child Care Concerns. 82% of school-to-work parents surveyed, the majority of whom are women, cite having to care for a child as the single most important reason for not seeking post-secondary education. 75% of work-to-college women say "having to care for children" was a very important reason they did not go to college.
Getting Older. Women are six times more likely than men to say that age posed a barrier to college, even though adult students now account for nearly half of college enrollments.
Teenage Debt: A Barrier to Further Education. Credit card debt is more pronounced for women than men, and accumulates earlier than we might think. 32% percent of women returning to college after work and 23% of women who move from high school to the workforce report credit card debt as an obstacle to attending college. People of color are also more likely to say that credit card debt poses an educational barrier (41% to 26% in the work-to-college population).
Guidance Counseling: A Missed Opportunity? More than half of all respondents report less than full satisfaction with their experiences with guidance counselors. Some respondents elaborate that guidance counselors did not give them the time or attention needed, or that counselors were not well informed.
The High-Tech Imperative. More than two-thirds of all students attending college agree computer literacy is vital in today’s job market. 85% of work-to-college women and 78% in the school-to-college group agree that "it is almost impossible to get a decent job today without a firm knowledge of computers."
What "Information Superhighway?" Despite talk of an explosion of information, women and men both feel that they would benefit from better or more information about college, the application and selection process, financial aid, and career choices.
Anxieties Dissuade Students. Nearly 40% of all respondents cite anxiety about academic requirements at college as an obstacle to college attendance. Significantly more young men than women cite fears of not gaining admission to college as an obstacle to applying to college. More young women than men say anxieties over SAT scores—as opposed to the actual results—are obstacles to going to college (34% of women, 22% of men).
Paradox of Children. Children provide a powerful incentive for women to seek post-secondary education, yet many institutions pose serious logistical obstacles for caregivers hoping to fulfill this educational goal. 74% of work-to-college parents name child care and flexible schedules to accommodate parenthood as factors that would encourage and ease return to school.
Postgraduate Degrees—Going Further, Getting Farther. Across all three transition points, people of color are almost two times more likely than whites to deem a postgraduate degree as "essential" for career advancement.
"The research findings make clear that the identity and needs of the student population are evolving," said AAUW Educational Foundation Director Karen Lebovich in releasing Gaining a Foothold. "Students are more heterogeneous now—in the obstacles they face, the educational goals they have, their ages, social background, economic status, and level of preparedness—as this report illustrates. We hope this research identifies ways to make post-secondary institutions more accessible to a broader range of students."
Among the solutions posed in Gaining A Foothold, respondents indicate support for:
Community College. Most students, including those in four-year colleges and universities, view community colleges positively. Roughly three-fourths of college-bound women agree that community colleges offer a good value financially, more flexibility for students who have children or work, additional academic assistance for those who need it, practical and technical training, and provide quality instruction that is at least comparable to that of four-year colleges.
Child Care. Roughly two-thirds of women say they favor colleges that offer day care as making it easier for students to attend college.
Employer Incentives. 75% of respondents who went from college to work with financial support from their employers say that those financial incentives were an important factor in their return to school.
Institutional flexibility. One-half to three-quarters of all female respondents favor support services and reforms that offer flexibility to non-traditional students.
Information availability. 80% of women and 66% of men moving from school to work favor more accessible and user-friendly financial aid information as improvements that would make going to college easier.
The AAUW Educational Foundation regularly conducts pioneering research on the themes of gender, equity, and education, and funds projects, fellowships and grants for outstanding women in the U.S. and around the globe, and community action projects.
*Findings in "Gaining a Foothold: Women’s Transitions Through Work and College" are based on a series of 10 focus groups conducted nationwide by Lake Snell Perry and Associates in September-October 1998 and a national telephone survey of 1,070 respondents in three transition groups conducted by DYG, Inc. in December 1998-January 1999. All statistically significant differences cited in the report are reliable with a five percent margin of error.
"Have sex to be popular." "Be skinny to fit in." "I’m only 16 but I feel like I’ve been around this world twice." Tese are some of the provocative things teenage girls are saying about their struggles with sex, peer pressure, and body image. Voices of a Generation: Teenage Girls on Sex, School, and Self, a new report released today by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation, describes and analyzes differences among girls' responses by race, ethnicity, and region.
"This report is a warning flag to America’s parents and teachers," said AAUW Educational Foundation President Sharon Schuster. "As students return to school, we need to be thinking about more than test scores and vouchers. Because the social and academic aspects of school are inextricably intertwined, educators must also address the difficult issues teens face."
Voices of a Generation is based on Sister-to-Sister Summits sponsored nationwide by AAUW to bring together teenage girls ages 11-17 to talk openly with each other about the most important issues they face today. From November 1997 to November 1998, girls participating in these summits answered six questions about their daily lives. The report is a detailed analysis of responses by 2,100 girls.
Girls want to learn how to say no to sex and still say yes to intimacy. Sex and pregnancy are the number one issues facing teenage girls today. While the majority of girls list sex and boys as major issues in their lives, only a handful of girls discuss "love" or "sexuality." One girl suggests that schools should "educate everyone that there are other ways of showing affection besides sex." Girls say they need the tools to learn how to say no and how to negotiate emotionally charged relationships.
According to the report:
Girls admit that sexual pressure comes not just from boys but from other girls, from their friends, and from the media. Astoundingly, the only age group not to mention "pressure to have sex" at all are the 11-year-olds. While the pressure on teenage girls to have sex at an early age knows no ethnic, racial, or geographic bounds, African American and Hispanic girls cite pregnancy as an issue in their lives more than white and Asian American girls and do so at a younger age. African American and Hispanic girls describe pregnancy as a "choice," though not one they generally condone, while white and Asian American girls describe it as an "accident" and caution against the "risks" and "dangers" of sex. Only a small number of girls voice concern about birth control, abortion, and AIDS despite all their talk about sex.
"Girls want to learn how to say ‘yes’ to relationships without automatically saying ‘yes’ to sex," Schuster said. "They don’t want sex to be an all or nothing issue. They’re missing the middle ground of affection, intimacy, and relationships."
The Need to Belong. Voices of a Generation reflects the conflicting pressures teenage girls face today – pressure to fit in, to look and act a certain way, to have sex, do drugs, and drink. The pressure to be popular and cool competes against the hidden "authentic" self that many girls admit they repress to be included. White and Asian American girls talk about the "pressure to fit in" far more than Hispanic and African American girls.
A number of girls talk about the climate of sexual harassment in schools. Girls frequently cite incidents of boys as young as 12 or 13 calling girls "bitches," "sluts," and "whores" or making crude requests for sex. One 13-year-old writes: "Once someone told me to have sex with them, and when I didn’t because I’m not that kind of girl ... they called me a bitch and a lesbian."
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Voices of a Generation notes the conflicting roles girls face as they struggle with what it means to be a girl today. They are torn between a traditional view of femininity and the contemporary realities of being a woman. As one girl writes, "Girls need a clear definition of girls or women. We are encouraged to be assertive through TV, magazines, and some adults, but we're punished indirectly by the world when we do."
The report also finds that many girls point their fingers at the media for promoting a very narrow, restrictive image of women and girls as skinny, sexually alluring, and popular to the exclusion of more important attributes and values. A summit participant writes, "...Media messages tell us to be a certain shape and size, our friends and peers want us to like certain things, our parents wish we’d act a specific way. With all the different messages from all different angles, it is sometimes hard for a girl just to find the person she really is."
Taking action. Educators focus on academics and standards, yet generally ignore social pressures girls face every day in school. Girls’ propose innovative solutions to help them combat these pressures.
Call to girls: Many girls note that the problems and issues they face are related to boys. The girls propose innovative boy-girl summits to address these issues together and better learn to understand each other.
Call to schools: Girls need real tools to help them navigate the stormy waters of teen sexuality. They call on schools to move beyond "just say no" and abstinence training to help them better understand the complex social and emotional nature of relationships, not just the basic anatomy and biology of sex.
Call to the media: Girls want the media to show "real bodies, not made up thin ones." Many call on their peers to boycott magazines and TV shows that promote unrealistic images of women.
"Adults across America are asking, ‘What’s wrong with schools today?’" said AAUW President Sandy Bernard. "These girls are coming up with some of the answers as they call on schools to improve sex education and challenge the media to present realistic and powerful images of women and girls."
A nationwide poll of students ages 9-15, Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America examined the impact of gender on self-esteem, career aspirations, educational experiences, and interest in math and science. The study found that as girls reach adolescence, they experience a significantly greater drop in self-esteem than boys experience. The poll also confirmed a growing body of research that indicates girls are systematically, if unintentionally, discouraged from a wide range of academic pursuits--particularly in math and science. This gap in self-esteem and drop in girls' interest in math and science have devastating consequences for the future of girls and the future of the nation.
The poll inspired journalist Peggy Orenstein to write School Girls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap (1994), a moving portrait of adolescent girls at two California middle schools, one predominantly white and middle class, the other predominantly black and economically disadvantaged. School Girls follows the girls through the school year, describing girls like Becca, who boasts she's a feminist but won't raise her hand in class for fear she'll give the wrong answer. The book is now in its third printing and is used as a textbook in some schools.
The AAUW Report: How Schools Shortchange Girls is a startling examination of how girls in grades K-12 are disadvantaged in America's schools. Among other results, the report reveals that girls receive less attention in the classroom than boys; girls are not pursing math-related careers in proportion to boys; the gender gap in science is increasing; African American girls are more likely than boys to be rebuffed by teachers; curricula ignore or stereotype women; reports of sexual harassment of girls are increasing; and many standardized tests contain elements of gender bias. These forms of gender bias undermine girls' self-esteem and discourage them from pursuing nontraditional courses of study, such as math and science. The report includes concrete strategies for change and recommendations for educators and policymakers.
Through a grant provided by the Ford Foundation, The AAUW
has been translated into Chinese, Spanish, and French and was disseminated
at the Nongovernmental Organizations Forum held in conjunction with the
September 1995 U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.
Hostile Hallways: The AAUW Survey on Sexual Harassment in America's Schools represents the first national scientific study of sexual harassment in public schools. Based on the experiences of 1,632 students in grades eight through 11, the research found that 85 percent of the girls and 76 percent of the boys surveyed have experienced sexual harassment. The survey also found that girls who have been harassed are more afraid in school and feel less confident about themselves than boys; sexual harassment in school begins early; students are harassed by peers; girls of all races experience more sexual harassment than do boys; African American boys are more likely to be harassed; and homophobia begins at an early age.
The study was commissioned by the AAUW Educational Foundation and conducted by Louis Harris and Associates.
Growing Smart: What's Working for Girls in School gives educators, policymakers, parents, and students insights into strategies that foster girls' achievement and healthy development. A national review of more than 500 reports and studies on girls in grades K-12, Growing Smart offers compelling evidence that innovative approaches such as team learning, all-girls classes, and greater hands-on access to computers and tools benefit girls' ability to succeed in school. The publication includes a detailed summary of the researchers' data; action strategies for schools, families, and community leaders; and a resource list of programs nationwide with photos and firsthand accounts from program participants. While this study is about girls, it also addresses approaches that enhance school achievement and healthy development for boys.
Below are the critical messages gleaned from Growing Smart: What's Working for Girls in School , Executive Summary and Action Guide, published by the AAUW Educational Foundation in 1995.
Attention to the needs of all girls is critical to girls' success. Girls who are given room to voice their hopes, fears, and personal concerns can better define their place in an increasingly complex world.
Innovative learning approaches are making headway. Though still on the fringes of educational systems, programs targeted specifically at girls are proving beneficial to both sexes.
A guarded enthusiasm is growing for single-sex classes. The evidence of success in such programs is still largely anecdotal, but girls are responding positively to all-girls classes. Programs should comply with Title IX requirements for nondiscrimination, and keep participation voluntary and open to both boys and girls. Because initiatives are so highly variable and have not yet been tested in court, legal consultation is advisable.
Handling tools and equipment may boost student interest in math and science. Incorporating plenty of hands-on activities and offering girls ample opportunities to manipulate often unfamiliar equipment spur girls' enthusiasm for math and science. Internships and visits to science-related industries also increase girls' involvement in math and science.
Community alliances hold promise for girls' education and achievement. Many schools have limited resources for special programs, such as those targeted toward girls. Community programs can supplement school programs, offering space, time, staff, and options.
Schools have a stake in helping girls become decision-makers. If a school system is to be responsive to girls' needs, girls should be encouraged to have a voice in decisions affecting them.
Researchers need more data on girls from community youth programs. Many community initiatives for girls, such as those sponsored by 4-H and the Urban League, lack funding and expertise to record their efforts. Unless researchers are encouraged to collect further data from such programs, we risk losing a treasure trove of information on what's working for girls.
Educators feel a growing commitment to involve girls and their families in girls' education. Families have a stake in their children's education. The ideas of families and the girls themselves may illuminate some key aspect of student life that would otherwise go unnoticed.
This intriguing report and companion video show how adolescent girls, regardless of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or region of the country, use a common set of behavioral strategies to meet the challenges of middle school. Girls try out these behaviors in a vital but often-misunderstood identity-making process, shifting strategies to fit changing circumstances. No single strategy works all the time, and all have risks.
Enter the world of middle school and see how girls use different strategies to meet the competing demands of school, community, and peers. Learn how parents, administrators, and teachers can foster girls' growth by encouraging them to experiment with the full range of strategies.
Among the most common strategies are:
Speaking out. When girls speak out, they tend to make their opinions heard at home, at school, and in the community. They are often highly visible in their schools and publicly acknowledged as leaders. However, in some circumstances, girls who speak out risk being labeled as troublemakers.
Doing school. When girls "do school", they often complete the3ir work on time, listen in class and meet adults' expectations, which may lead to good grades and academic success. On the other hand, doing school may result in suppressed potential.
Crossing borders. When girls cross borders, they tend to move easily between different cultures or sets of norms and expectations, bridging the gap between peers and adults or between different racial or ethnic groups. This skill makes them good communicators and mediators. However, being a go-between may be a heavy responsibility at times.
Girls in the Middle links girls' success to school reforms like team teaching and cooperative learning, especially where these are used to address gender issues. Reforms that match students with caring adults and confront such real student concerns as violence, pregnancy, and social norms benefit boys as well as girls.
A report released March 12, 1998 by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation challenges the popular idea that K-12 single-sex education is better for girls than coeducation. A key finding of Separated by Sex: A Critical Look at Single-Sex Education for Girls is that qualities of a good education foster student achievement regardless of whether girls and boys learn separately or together.
"What the research shows is that separating by sex is not the solution to gender inequity in education," said Maggie Ford, president of the AAUW Educational Foundation. "When elements of a good education are present, girls and boys succeed."
Since the release of AAUW's 1992 report How Schools Shortchange Girls that found pervasive gender bias in K-12, there has been rapid growth of single-sex education in public schools. In response, the AAUW Educational Foundation convened a roundtable of the country's foremost researchers to compare findings on single-sex education. Containing highlights of this roundtable together with an extensive literature review, Separated by Sex provides a comprehensive inquiry into the complex educational issues raised by the separation of students by sex.
Research findings include:
Often overlooked in the creation of single-sex classes, according to the report, is the disruption of the sex ratio in coed classes from which single-sex classes are drawn. Additionally, even though implicit in the creation of single-sex initiatives for girls is the goal of reducing or eliminating sex-stereotyping, the report finds that single-sex classes and schools can reinforce stereotypes about men's and women's roles in society just as coeducational programs can.
"No learning environment, single-sex or coed, provides a sure escape from sexism," said Sandy Bernard, president of AAUW and a former Head Start teacher. "Sound teacher training is key to reducing sex stereotyping in both the coed and single-sex programs."
Separated by Sex highlights teacher training in gender-equitable practices that reduce sex-stereotyping - a call sounded by the groundbreaking 1992 study by the AAUW Educational Foundation How Schools Shortchange Girls - The AAUW Report.
October 14, 1998: While the gaps in math and science achievement have narrowed for girls in the past six years, a major new gender gap in technology has developed.
Gender Gaps: Where Schools Still Fail Our Children documents the progress and failure of schools in providing a fair and equitable education since 1992. That year the Foundation published How Schools Shortchange Girls, which propelled gender equity to the forefront of the education reform debate. The new report focuses on emerging gaps in areas such as technology that threaten to disadvantage girls as they confront 21st-century demands.
"Girls have narrowed some significant gender gaps, but technology is now the new 'boys' club' in our nation's public schools," said AAUW Executive Director Janice Weinman. "While boys program and problem solve with computers, girls use computers for word processing, the 1990s version of typing."
Synthesizing 1,000 research studies, Gender Gaps reviews issues of historic concern for girls--math and science enrollment, high-stakes standardized testing, extracurricular activities, and health and development risks--and new areas such as technology and School-to-Work programs. Based on these findings, the Foundation offers more than 35 recommendations for action by states, local school districts, educators, and researchers in order to reach high educational achievement through gender equity.
Gender Gaps documents the good news too, added Ford. "Over the last six years, we have made some significant strides in leveling the learning and playing fields for girls in public schools," she said. "Girls today enroll in more math and science courses and take more AP courses in English, biology, and foreign languages."
From 1990 to 1994, girls' enrollments in AP and honors calculus and chemistry also improved relative to boys. And the 1997 addition of a writing skills section on the PSAT raised girls' scores and narrowed the gender gap (from 4.5 to 2.7 points).
Despite the progress in certain areas, gaps persist. "The gender gaps we see are evidence that public schools are failing to fully prepare girls for the 21st century. High schools still tend to steer girls and boys into School-to-Work programs that prepare them for traditional occupations for their gender," said Sandy Bernard, president of AAUW.
Gaps between girls and boys and among girls according to race, ethnicity, and class that are documented in the report include:
"Rather than hold girls to boys' standards or vice versa, schools need to guarantee students the resources each realistically needs to achieve in school," said Weinman.
The report also flags trends that threaten to create or sustain gender gaps into the next decade. Such trends include:
Math, Science, and Technology Programs For Girls http://www.aauw.org/2000/models.html
Tech Check Database of Model Schools http://www.aauw.org/2000/techchk.html
AAUW's Tech Check, a guide to help schools assess the technology opportunities they offer female students, is available from AAUW's HELPLINE, 800/326-AAUW , email@example.com
Equity in Math, Science, Technology
Note: The 2002-2003 application deadline for the Teacher Fellowship program has passed. The application form is available on-line FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. Please be advised that there will be changes to next year's application form.
Eleanor Roosevelt Teacher Fellowships, designed to promote gender equity in K-12 public schools, are awarded by the AAUW Educational Foundation to full-time K-12 women teachers with at least three consecutive years of full-time teaching experience. During the fellowship year, each teacher implements a self-study plan including college courses, seminars, and/or workshops, and executes a project promoting gender equity for girls in her classroom, school, or district.
The fellowship goals are designed to: broaden educational opportunities
for women teachers and girls; enrich classroom teaching in mathematics,
science, and technology; and encourage professional development.
|Fellowship||up to $5,000|
|Applications available||July 1, 2001|
|Application postmark deadline||January 10, 2002|
|Fellowship year||July 1, 2002-Aug. 31, 2003|
Teacher Fellowships are available to women K-12 public school teachers
as individuals or as lead members of teams. Teams may be composed of
and administrators, including men and women. Funds support the development
of innovative curriculum projects designed to encourage girls' interest
and achievement in math, science, and/or technology. The fellowship
professional development for teachers; educational opportunities for
and advancement of gender equity in the classroom, school, or district.
Location: Michigan City, IN
Project Year: 2001-02
Project Title: Outdoor Classroom
Project Abstract: Amy Bethke, a sixth-grade science teacher, is teaching a diverse group of middle school girls about nature and beautifying the landscape. Using scientific equipment, the girls will track changes in the environment, analyze the data, assess their findings, and recognize connections between the natural world and classroom science. Bethke is supplementing her project work with master's-level courses in advanced chemistry, physical science, and education research at Purdue University.
Contact: Amy Bethke
Location: Michigan City, IN
Project Year: 2001-02
Project Title: Cyber Sisters
Project Abstract: A third-grade reading and computer teacher, Mary Gish is teaching girls to use and install software, troubleshoot problems, create web pages, and conduct research on the Internet. They also will take field trips and visit women who work in the computer field. Gish will attend a series of gender equity workshops and continue graduate work in technology education at Purdue University.
Contact: Mary Gish
Location: Anderson, IN
Funding Year: 1999-2000
Project Title: Building Self-Awareness for Life
Project Abstract: Following up an AAUW Sister-to-Sister Summit, Building Self-Awareness for Life brought together eighth-grade girls for a 10-week after-school self-development program. Grace House (a local women’s center), the Anderson (IN) AAUW Branch, and Anderson Community Schools partnered to work with girls, helping them to nurture personal strengths, enhance their connections to each other, and develop healthy strategies for achieving education and career goals.
Contact: Linda Teeple
Location: Anderson, IN
Funding Year: 1999-2000
Project Title: Lady Cardinals Technology Club
Project Abstract: Ruth Elkins, a fifth-grade teacher in Anderson, Indiana, developed the Lady Cardinals Technology Club for fifth-grade girls. To pique their interest in technology, they learned new uses for computers and explored the latest computer programs designed specifically for girls. The girls became proficient at using the Internet, e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, and databases. Skills learned in the technology club were shared with classmates. The girls also investigated nontraditional career opportunities by interviewing women in nontraditional professions, meeting with adult mentors, and participating in field trips. Participants used computer scanners and cameras in math and science studies, kept a journal of their progress in learning new skills, and developed confidence through mentoring projects.
Contact: Ruth Elkins
For more information, read about:
The American Association of University Women is a national organization that promotes education and equity for all women and girls. Our commitment to these issues is reflected by the AAUW Public Policy Program.
AAUW is composed of three corporations: the Association, a 150,000-member organization with more than 1,500 branches nationwide that lobbies and advocates for education and equity; the AAUW Educational Foundation, which funds pioneering research on girls and education, community action projects, and fellowships and grants for outstanding women around the globe; and the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund, which provides funds and a support system for women seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination in higher education.
The Association's voice has long influenced legislative debate on critical social issues such as education, sex discrimination, civil rights, reproductive choice,
affirmative action, Title IX, welfare reform, vocational education, pay equity, family and medical leave, and health care reform.
Current advocacy programs include:
The American Association of University Women is a network of women and men dedicated to removing the barriers that block women from full equality.
For more than a century, people like you have joined AAUW to create opportunities for women and girls; to take local and national action on AAUW priority issues; and to develop lifelong interests, leadership skills, and friendships.
Help our 150,000 members work for change. Promote gender-fair classroom practices. Lobby local and national legislators on the vital social issues of the
day. Mentor girls and women. Raise money to fund groundbreaking research, community action projects, and fellowships, grants, and awards for women scholars. Provide vital support for women seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination in higher education.
AAUW also provides special member benefits, including discounts on publications and merchandise as well as an array of insurance programs and financial services.
While we're known for getting things done, we also take time to enjoy each other's company. As an AAUW member, you'll belong to a strong network of talented people--one that can stimulate a lifetime of personal and professional growth.
Membership is open to those with a bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution.
There are several membership categories:
Order any of the above reports from the AAUW Sales Office. Phone 800 225-9998, ext. 478 or fax 301 306 9789 for prices and other ordering information.
Videos and support materials are available from AAUW branches and speakers/programs can be arranged. In Indiana, contact State President, Phyllis Thompson (219) 436-5546 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
AAUW branches/members may request a master of this research summary
document, ready to photocopy as a booklet, by contacting Marsha
Miller. Limited quantities of the booklets may be available as well.
from AAUW home page: http://www.aauw.org/..., 4/2000-- [aauw/member/national/research.doc]