Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

Gender Roles-Interviews with Kids

Jeopardy Results...

  • More boys than girls are referred for Special Education (T)
  • White, Asian, and wealthy, and middle-class boys perform better that low-income students and Black, Hispanic, and Native American boys. (T)
  • More girls enroll in calculus, physics, and computer science. (F)
  • Girls recieve higher report-card grades and have fewer disciplinary problems. (T)
  • More boys than girls drop out of school. (F)
  • More girls are the targets of sexual harassment (F)
  • Males are more likely to be the victims of physical bullying (T)
  • More women than men attend college. (T)
  • Women earn more degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine than men. (T)
  • Women earn one-third less than males in the same field with the same level of education (T).
  • Females receive less instructional help (T)
  • Females of color receive the least amount of teacher time and attention (T).
  • Girls outperform boys on the SATs and GREs (F).
  • Men exhibit more helping behaviors than Females (T).
  • Males have a higher self-esteem than Women. (F)

"But this isn't true in MY classroom!"

2 Types of Gender Bias in the Classroom:

  • Curriculum
  • Student Teacher Interactions



  • Men are mostly found in textbooks
  • 2nd class treatment of women
  • Names and experiences of Males are dominated
  • Males outnumber Females in Basal readers 2 to 1
  • Males are portrayed as angry

CHILDREN'S BOOKS (Among 200 award winners)

  • Twice as many male-centered stories
  • illustrations depict 50 percent more males
  • Fathers appear in less than half of the books
  • Fathers are portrayed as hands-off, rarely seen hugging or feeding their children
  • Mothers are shown as the caregivers and expressing more emotion
  • Women were given traditional jobs ten times more often (flight attendant, maid, librarian)

Hasbro's Rose Petal Cottage Commercial #1

Watch out for these forms of Bias in the books you read!

  • Invisibility - omitting people and events (Ex. Name 10 famous women from American History)
  • Stereotyping- Always portrayed in stereotyped roles (Ex. African Americans as athletes, Women as mothers)
  • Imbalance and Selectivity- Including only one side of the story
  • Unreality- Rose colored glasses, ignoring differences (Ex. traditional family roles)
  • Fragmentation- place information about women in a special box or insert separate from the main topic (Ex. Famous Women Scientists)
  • Linguistic Bias- Using masculine terms (Ex. forefathers, mankind, businessman)
  • Cosmetic Bias- Illusion of equity, textbooks contain pictures of women or minorities, but aren't included in the content.

Watch out for these forms of Bias while you teach your children!

  • Males receive more attention than females, both positive and negative
  • Males receive more directions, more praise and more questions
  • Males frequently control classroom conversation
  • Males are criticized more, disciplined more harshly, more publicly, and more frequently even when they violate the same rules.
  • Gender segregation- boy/girl lines, groups, play areas, seating *More often students gender-segregate themselves (Ex. Teachers are more likely to be positioned in the classroom next to the more assertive boys)

"The Boy Crisis"

Boys are portrayed as...

  • antsy
  • unable to sit for long
  • learning disabled
  • disliking books
  • able to focus on sports, computers and video games but not on academics
  • discipline problems
  • repeating grades


  • Studies reveal that the "boy crisis" is affecting some boys but not all.
  • White, Asian, and academically elite boys are doing great!
  • More boys take AP classes, and outperform girls on the SATs and GREs.
  • While females are now the majority in college, more men are attending than ever before.

Gender Segregated Schools


Research revealed strong academic achievement and self-esteem, high career goals, and less sex-role stereotyping.


  • Was this because the schools attracted girls who already possessed these qualities?
  • High quality teachers?

What about the boys?

Research revealed that the boys were more likely to enroll in nontraditional courses and developed better work habits.


  • It also produced men who look down on girls and women.
  • No strong evidence that academic learning is any better, in fact, it may harm boys' success
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Are Men really from Mars (in the Classroom)?

  • More educational differences exist within the genders than between the genders.
  • Achievement has less to do with gender and more to do with race, ethnicity, and economic status.
  • Men do show more aggressiveness and a better ability to rotate objects mentally.
  • There are few educationally relevant gender differences. There are no important intellectual or psychological differences between females and males that require unique teaching approaches.

What do you think? Do you think the way you teach boys and girls are or should be differentiated?

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Strategies for creating Gender Fair classrooms

1. When encountering gender bias in books or curriculum, confront it. Helps to develop critical literacy skills.

2. Ask students to list famous men and women. Are they equal? What groups are missing?

3. Analyze your seating chart- no gender, racial, ethnic or class segregation

4. Don't tolerate harrassement or bullying. No "boys will be boys" excuse, You are the norm setter

5. Continue to be discerning in your professional development, be aware of political agendas or popular media.

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Feminist Phase Theory

Definition: A classification system of the evolution in thought about the incorporation of women's traditions, history and experiences into selected disciplines.

5 Common phases of thinking about women...

  • Male- absence of women
  • Contribution - mostly men, but notes outstanding women in history
  • Bifocal- seeing the world through a man's perspective and a women's perspective
  • Women's - women's activities are the measure of significance
  • Gender Balanced- how women and men relate and compliment each other

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Gender Equity

The attainment of equal outcomes for Females and Males even if the treatment required to obtain those outcomes is different.

Strategies to support Gender Equity:

  • Confronting and addressing stereotyping and discrimination- be clear about your own perspectives and self-reflective about attitudes towards boys
  • Obtaining knowledge about cultures, statuses, and intersections- incorporate literature illustrating these into their curricula
  • Building on Students' Assets and Strengths- use the family and community characteristics of the culture to promote success
  • Increase the number of Female and Male Teachers who represent diversity- helps students from diverse populations relate


Banks, J. & McGee Banks, C.A. (2012) Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, 8th Edition. NJ: Wiley.