Effects of Gender Disparities in Access and Outcomes in Education in Europe
Overview of the Topic
There are two genders within the society since people are either male or female. In this respect, behavior can either be innate or learned. How people of different gender behave hugely depends on stereotypes and perceptions. Sex differences create stereotypes regarding what a man or woman is. Therefore, there exist many similarities and differences which depict behavior and beliefs in men and women. At a tender age, boys and girls deeply hold on these behaviors and beliefs that significantly affect their performance not only in education but also in other sectors.
Both parents and teachers have constructed perceptions on various gender aspects such as who has priority in access to education, who performs better, and how far boys and girls go in terms of education. The created perceptions among teachers in regard to boys and girls are essential in shaping how both genders are treated and determining the level of gender balance in schools. In Europe, gender inequality in education is of great concern. However, little has been done regarding the issue due to the differences in policy frameworks. The main difference is how gender inequality is addressed in legislative acts across the European nations. In addition, different countries have different ways of defining gender inequality. Many countries in Europe define gender inequality in terms of equal outcomes, opportunities, or treatment.
Rationale for Choosing the Topc
It is apparent that the issue of gender imbalances in education has undergone a transformation over the recent decades in Europe, and attainments in this sphere have become more complex. Apart from inherent injustices, gender stereotypes and differences in education negatively affect economic growth and social inclusion. Moreover, the area has recently received low scholarly attention. Therefore, understanding the effect of gender disparities in education will be essential in informing policy makers.
Relevance of the Topic
Most of the gender inequalities in education are a result of the existing traditional stereotypes and gender roles in the society. These stereotypes and gender roles can be challenged so as to ensure gender equity in other areas besides education sector. Addressing gender inequalities in education would cause other issues such as gender-based violence and discrimination to be counteracted. In the previous years, many European countries have been focusing on policy instruments while general practical measures are ignored. In a wider scope, very few countries have taken the initiative to mainstream gender in the field of education. Additionally, countries have only adopted theoretical gender mainstreaming policies which have taken centuries to be implemented.
It is also evident that the curriculum development and school climate are based on gender stereotypes. Most teachers believe that girls are better in reading than boys. This advantage of girls is seen across the globe with many teachers focusing more on girls than boys. However, there is no scientific proof that girls are better in reading than boys. Addressing the stereotype would enhance equity in reading performance between boys and girls.
Additionally, girls are believed to be weaker in mathematics and science than boys. Though research has shown that boys and girls show equal performance in mathematics, it has been hard to convince girls that they are equal performers. The stereotype further depicts the careers that boys and girls pursue in the future. Parents mainly make emphasis on boys’ education, especially in advanced levels. Following the belief that girls would finally get married, many parents are willing to invest more in boys’ education than in girls’. Consequently, we are having a society of more male than female elites.
Though a huge emphasis has been made on single-sex settings in schools, very few countries have adopted the strategy. Many countries have preferred co-education to single-sex setting. The assumption is that having separate schools for the two sexes is more expensive than co-education. In regard to teachers, female teachers are more engaged in the lower level teaching while male ones are in the management. Governments have done little to persuade men to join the career. The whole situation has created the stereotype that men are academically superior to women.