Many nations across the world strive to ensure both men and women have equal rights to opportunities within society. Whether it is in leadership, education, and the working environment as a whole (Kawa, 2018). Gender equality issues are global, and various advocacy organization bodies have emerged to ensure equality is achieved. The progress is, however, quite slow than anticipated (Subrahmanian, 2005). The root of most forms of gender inequality issues begins from the available education systems within a country, a system that runs all the way from preschool to graduate school level.
Gender equality in education in the United States begins all the way from the kindergarten level. When the kids first start school, they all possess unique abilities, and the teachers are quick to perceive that boys are good in mathematics related activities as compared to girls (Subrahmanian, 2005). They assume that boys are always good in such subjects as opposed to their female counterparts, not putting into consideration that new groups of students each year may have potential. This kind of discrimination automatically makes the teachers so relaxed to coach the girls into gaining more interest in these subjects. Majority of the girls, therefore, proceed to their next grade with the perception that technical subjects like mathematics are not meant for them. On the other hand, boys are made to think from a young age that art and language subjects are meant for girls, simply because they perform better at them. The bad side of all these is that the students do not get the opportunity to explore their true interests and potential. They silently oblige to a perception that was instilled in them from a very young age, hence developing a great fear towards stepping into their genuine interests. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related careers are male-dominated (Thornton, 2019). The belief in stereotype, lack of self-confidence in science, and discontentment in the way science education is offered are the major issues discouraging women or girls from getting involved in STEM fields (Cole, 2018).
There is an unequal distribution of male students in the art and literature classes. The few ones who enroll for these classes find it difficult to cope since the techniques used to teach these subjects are not favorable to them. They are more female-oriented, in their opinion. Surprisingly, the few females who enroll for STEM-related courses perform very well at them, indicating that with sufficient encouragement, many more would find the interest to pursue these fields (Subrahmanian, 2005).
Both men and women have the same number of years in education, which is about twelve and a half years in the United States. Girls, however, start of school earlier than most boys of their age and also strive to finish their high school diploma, as opposed to their male counterparts who drop out along the way. The number of women enrolling for degree programs has increased drastically over the recent years as opposed to men. Most men opt to drop and settle for low income paid jobs, which gives women the opportunity to outshine them with better-paying jobs (Rutherglen & Donohue, 2018). This leads to a disparity in the employment environment as many of the female counterparts acquire the very top positions in the company.
Employment of teachers or lecturers in the education field is also gender-biased. Course program such as physical education is male-dominated, as well as science subjects such as chemistry and physics. Art and language classes are dominated by female teachers since they are perceived to be better at them than their male counterparts. Bigger universities also have most male leaders in the topmost hierarchy of the school administration as opposed to their female counterparts who are very few in the same administration leadership (Rutherglen & Donohue, 2018)
Gender inequality in education influences one's decision to enter the workforce. The norms in gender create a perception that certain jobs are meant for a specific kind of gender. For instance, a nurse job is more for women, hence the low percentage in the number of males in that field. Security jobs are male dominated despite the fact that it's a job that is open to women as well (Cole, 2018).
Bridging the gender inequality gap in education is very vital in order to tap the skills and talents that are beneficial to society as a whole. Having a society without school dropout means a lot of social problems such as crime is reduced. It also means more qualified, and informed individuals ready to build the economy through entrepreneurship, being good employees, and through talents such as sports or music (Subrahmanian, 2005). More female leaders present in the topmost administration of educational institutions will encourage female students who aspire for the same job designations to work hard in order to qualify for these kinds of positions as well.
The government has always made efforts to neutralize gender inequality in education by passing laws and policies that are against it. In the year 2017, the Next Space Pioneers, innovators, Researchers, and explorers Women legislation act was passed alongside the Promoting Women in Entrepreneur Act to encourage more women and girls to study STEM-related courses (Cole, 2018). Most education institutions have now made an effort to implement outreach programs meant to recruit female students in STEM. The Title IX of Education Amendment Act of 1972 is a federal law that has been in support of gender equality in education for many years. It states that no one in the United States on the basis of sex is excluded from participation in, be denied, or subjected to discrimination under any education programs or activity receiving federal financial assistance. The law applies to every aspect of education, from course offerings, financial assistance, students' health insurance benefits, athletics, and even counseling facilities. All private and public institutions that receive federal government funding must adhere to the Title IX law (the United States, 2018).
The Title IX law in gender discrimination in education includes sexual harassment as well. Education institutions are held liable if there are harassment cases reported to them, and they choose to ignore or not act upon them. They may need to compensate the victim if the victim is able to prove that harassment took place, and the institution did not take the appropriate measures required by the law. The law is majorly concern with any form of a hostile environment that disrupt students opportunities of acquiring quality education (Melnick, 2018).
Current statistics show that more women are graduating with bachelor degrees in science causes and also dominating the health sector. A huge percentage, however, drop out at the Ph.D. level or do not enroll at all for these programs. Some of the reasons for these are attributed to family or the decision to just stop their education at the degree level and focus more on their work experience. An increasing number of women in STEM should not mean a negative competition for the male counterparts but should be thought of as a way of tapping the best talent to handle humanity challenges. STEM-related careers are also well paying, and this help to boost the economic security of women as a whole, and their influence in society in general (Thornton, 2019). There should me be more role models for young girls and boys in every field of careers. Students should be encouraged from an early age to pursue their interests, and the techniques used to teach subjects or courses should favor both genders. Institutions should also include more mentorship programs in their curriculum that encourage gender equality in education. An empowered citizen is a plus to the nation regardless of the gender they possess, and therefore, any form of inequality should be addressed in order to achieve the equality needed in the education system.
Cole, M. (2018). Education, equality, and human rights: Issues of gender, 'race,' sexuality, disability, and social class. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge.
Kawa, K. (2018). What's gender equality? New York: Kid Haven Publishing.
Melnick, R. S. (2018). The transformation of Title IX: Regulating gender equality in education. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
Rutherglen, G., & Donohue, J. J. (2018). Employment Discrimination: Law and theory. St. Paul, MN: Foundation Press.
Subrahmanian, R. (2005). Gender equality in education: Definitions and measurements. International Journal of Educational Development, 25(4), 395-407. DOI:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2005.04.003
Thornton, A. (5th March 2019). Gender equality in STEM is possible. These countries prove it. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/03/gender-equality-in-stem-is-possible
United States. (2018). Review of gender equity in the department's law enforcement. Washington, DC: Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, Evaluation and Inspections Division.
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