Gender Inequality in Classrooms

Inequality in Schools




Date of Submission

Inequality in K-12 classrooms is high in the United States. Students will experience differences such as race, gender and sexual orientation on one way or the other. Disparities in education affect the students’ lives, and some students may reconsider attending school because of the way they are treated in school or the way they are viewed. Although an attempt to solve the issue of inequalities in schools have been put into place, these efforts have not yet completely bared fruits as some teachers and students still show them while interacting with each other. The article used in this review is by David Sadker and Melissa Koch “Disrupting Inequity.” The educational issues evident in the article are:

Gender inequality in schools, there is apparent gender disparities that exist between the boys and girls. In a classroom made up of both girls and boys, the males get more attention from their teachers than the females. The attention can either be positive or negative. Few women are recorded to be registering in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects (STEM). Girls view STEM subjects as challenging and do not fit them. There are no many role models in the field of technology that can act as motivation to these girls and show them that technology and computer science courses are based on thinking ability and collaborations. Sadker and Koch are giving out concrete evidence that shows that gender disparities indeed exist in the classrooms. Firstly, they have indicated that few female students around twenty percent enrolled in advanced computer science placement exams as reported by the College Board in 2013. Secondly, boys have been reported to be most aggressive and violent in schools as compared to the girls. The class texts are in support of this educational issue. Sadker and Zittleman in their article” Gender Bias: From Colonial America to today’s classroom” (Banks and Banks, 2010) illustrate the problem of gender disparities in schools and classrooms. Girls are likely to get better grades in school, have few disciplinary issues and their probability of enrolling in college after high school is also high as compared to the boys. However, the likelihood of girls entering and majoring in STEM carriers is minimal in comparison to the boys whose majority major in STEM courses but not in languages or common course (“Classroom for Diversity : Rethinking Curriculum and Pedagogy”) by Tetreault ( Banks and Banks, 2010).

Sexual orientation, there are some few categories of students who are not identified as either females or males. Transgender, lesbian, gay bisexual and queer students face discrimination in schools. According to Sadker and Koch, gender orientation and identity at the K-12 level of education faces many challenges, and such students have not been widely accepted. For example, they state that some schools may not be willing to allocate student locker rooms and restrooms to students according to the gender they are being identified with. Some teachers are not permitted to mention the issue of transgender or homosexuality while interacting with their students. Sadker and Zittleman’s article relates to this by suggesting that many LGBT students experience discrimination in school and classrooms. Mayo’s (“Queer lessons: sexual and gender minorities in multicultural system”) (Banks and Banks, 2010) report also reflects the issues that LGBT students experience in schools. The article indicates that several attempts have been made to revive the challenges facing LGBT identity such as placement of non-discriminatory laws and education policies that minimize these problems and identifies them to the society especially the fellow students.

Racial disparities, students are treated according to their ethnic groups. Black, Hispanic and white students are viewed differently in schools. The majority group i.e. the white students are treated better than the minority student (Hispanics and black Americans). The white superiority is evident here. Few students from a minority group are likely to enroll in STEM courses as compared to the majority group who dominate the classes. In a situation where their violence or dispensary issue involving a white and a student from a minority group, the student from minority group faces a high chance of being suspended or expelled from school than the majority group. A black student is likely to drop out of high school than a white student. The issues are mainly because the majority of minority students are poor students. In the article by Banks, the issue is supported by an indication that many black and Hispanic students are discriminated upon in school. Picca and Miller (“Backstage racism: implication for teaching”) illustrate that the white community has dominated many STEM courses as compared to the blacks and Hispanics.

Stereotype threats are an issue that is affecting many students in school. Students who are constantly being reminded of their gender and their roles perform poorly in some particular subjects in which they major in. The stigmatized group underachieves in classroom exams and tests. In a field dominated by men, women students are reported to be highly discriminated with some of them having ideas of changing their majors at some time in the course. Sadker and Koch describe two examples where stereotype threats have been proven to affect students. The first example illustrates a situation in a class where students were asked by their teachers to indicate their gender on their working sheets before the beginning of a test, and another group was asked to write them down after the test. Results showed that female students who wrote their names before the test performed poorly than male students who wrote their gender type before the test. On the other hand female students who wrote their gender identity after the test scored better grades than male students who wrote them after the test. It is evident from these examples that female students do not perform well when they are reminded about their social group in contrast to the boys who are seen to achieve higher. Another example is indicated by the performance of female students in a study where female students who majored in advanced calculus were reminded that the test they were about to take would be used to gauge their mathematical abilities, and another group of women students was told that the test does not consider gender. The later performed well as compared to the first group. Although more women were seen to be acquiring education by the 20th century, women received less valuable education as compared to the males although they attended the same schools. Women enrolled I courses such as secretariats and some other low paying occupations as compared to the boys. Described by Pollard in “Understanding and supporting gender equity in school”( Banks and Banks, 2010).

In conclusion, many disparities are affecting the education of K-12 students in schools. There is need of addressing these issues to make sure that equity is attained in all situations.


Banks, J. A., & Banks, C. A. M. G. (2010). Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.