Gender and Education

Essay by sahmed10 January 2006

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In this assessment I have chosen to discuss the question, why is equality of opportunity an important consideration in education, with particular reference to the area concerning gender. I will be considering educational issues of gender and its impact and also evaluate the extent to which equal opportunities for girls in education have been secured.

First of all we need to know what is meant by gender. Explaining this term Haspels et al (2000) says:

"The sex children are born with influences their chances in life, alongside other important variables such as socio-economic class or caste, race or ethnicity. The biological differences of being born as a boy or a girl become important only later in life when children reach puberty. However, from the moment of their birth, all societies assign different roles, attributes and opportunities to boys and girls. They are socialized to perform the roles of men and women in their society, based on the ideas in that society how men and women should or should not behave.

These social meanings given to biological sex differences are covered by the term gender. So, Sex refers to the biological differences between men and women that are universal and do not change. For example, only women can give birth. Gender is an important variable and classifier in society. It is affected by other variables such as age, class or caste, race or ethnicity, and by the geographical, economical and political environment."

Gender issues regarding inequality in general and particularly in education, have always remained evident through the course of the history. Before I move on to discuss this issue we need to understand what is meant by gender equality which is clearly explained by Haspels et al (2000):

"In most societies there are differences and inequalities between girls and boys,