By GUNCE AKPINAR
It has been argued that the curriculum at elementary and post-secondary schools is more suitable for girls than boys.
So, are we creating a society that provides equal opportunities from the standpoint of gender?
According to research of the OECD PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), the fact is boys and girls are learning differently, and modern education techniques are more effective for girls than boys.
“On average across OECD countries, boys outperform girls in mathematics by 12 points while gender differences in science performance tend to be small, both in absolute terms and when compared with the large gender gap in reading performance and the more moderate gender gap in mathematics,” according to the 2009 report, “Equally Prepared for Life?”
However, research shows in elementary and secondary schools male students are less ready to enter school and are less engaged in learning. Boys tend to have lower overall grades and are more likely to repeat a grade or drop out of school. The most problematic areas are reading tests and social sciences.
According to Statistics Canada, only 30 per cent of male secondary school students’ grades are between 80 per cent and 100 per cent, while it’s more than 45 per cent for female secondary school students.
PISA’s statistics show that female students’ have a graduation rate 10 per cent higher than males.
A Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey shows that from 2004-2005 male students dropped out of high school five per cent more often than female students.
As an effect of globalization, big companies started to prefer women as employees in their workplace.
According to the results of Internet research surveys by CCL, female employees enjoy greater job satisfaction, organizational dedication and meaningful work, while reporting decreased rates of burn out.
More than 65 per cent of employees in health, social science, government service, religion, business, finance, administration and education sectors in 2008 were women, according to Statistics Canada.
On the other hand, men outnumber women in high-paid and high-status jobs, such as management positions.
A recent Ontario study examining the profile of post-secondary workers shows females worked six hours less a week, on average, than males in 2007. This can, in some way, be attributed to an unequal share of family responsibilities.
Additionally, statistics show that women tend to hold lower-paying occupations and there is a large gap in earnings in management positions. This situation is sometimes referred to as a “glass ceiling” that many women encounter in the workforce.
The term was used as a headline for the Wall Street Journal article, “The Glass Ceiling: Why Women Can’t Seem to Break the Invisible Barrier That Blocks Them from the Top Jobs”.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes the glass ceiling as “an intangible barrier within a hierarchy that prevents women or minorities from obtaining upper-level positions.”
As the result of encouraging women to study and work, the education and advancement of women has improved noticeably during the past 40 years.
On the other hand, it seems to have levelled off, meaning many women still don’t have the chance of having as important of roles in business and social life when compared to the other sex. It’s clear, gender differences are still causing injustice.
But gender is not the only factor at work here. Socio-economic hardships are experienced by too many women and men, who are otherwise qualified and willing to assume greater roles within society.