Hairdresser or Footballer: Bridging the gender gap in schools10.23*
- This is a much needed book essential for all educators.
- A fascinating insight into the gender gap, analysing the statistics and socials reasons behind what has been found.
- A fabulous discussion into the history of gender roles in society.
We often tend to think about gender as the biological differences between women and men – however, this is incorrect. Gender is what actually gets expressed – how we look, how we act and how we feel. While sex is determined by what is dictated by our biology or what is written into the chromosomes, known as genotype, it is the interaction between the genes and the environment that determines gender. The amazing thing about gender is that it is completely created by society. It is a social construct that has been accepted by many, and from the moment a child is born, they are faced with gender stereotypes from clothing to how boys and girls are treated and expectations of behaviour. The question is, how do we as educators eliminate gender stereotypes?
Hairdresser or Footballer is a fascinating insight into these gender stereotypes that exist such as “boys prefer maths; girls prefer English”. It starts with an in-depth look into the history of gender and its role in society. From looking at how the Ancient Spartans believed that all members of society should be strong, quoting Plato on how “if women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach the same things”, to how we have not achieved gender equality in Modern Britain. It then goes on to discuss the academic differences in children. From looking at the statistics boys are falling behind girls and interrogating some of the reasons why this is happening. I particularly loved the section on “Myth-busting” section which looks at the aspirational differences between men and women, because it really made me think about the huge gaps in the way men and women are treated in employment even now.
This book stands out for its ability to make you reflect upon your own practice and the personal experiences that have shaped them. The discussion of the history of gender in society is thought-provoking and the section about pressure outside the classroom really made me consider the children in my school, and what I can do about challenging the gender gap. Highly recommended for all classroom practitioners and school leaders and full credit to Hollie Anderton with Ross Morrison McGill for such a fascinating insight into this prominent issue.