"Today, most American adults can call up some memory of sex ed in their school, whether it was watching corny menstruation movies or seeing their school nurse demonstrate putting a condom on a banana. The movies, in particular, tend to stick in our minds. Screening films at school to teach kids how babies are made has always been a touchy issue, particularly for people who fear such knowledge will steer their children toward sexual behavior. But sex education actually has its roots in moralizing: American sex-ed films emerged from concerns that social morals and the family structure were breaking down." — Slut-Shaming, Eugenics, and Donald Duck: The Scandalous History of Sex-Ed Movies
WYNC's Manoush Zomorodi investigates the gender gap in tech and computer science, and finds a number of people working towards bridging that gap, from childhood to university: completely restructuring a required computer science course to make it more welcoming to female university students, celebrating women in computing history (and recognizing that computer science wasn't so male-dominated, and making children's books and toys (even dollhouses!) for kids to explore programming concepts on their own. She also noticed that the majority of female computer science students in the US had grown up overseas - possibly because computer science isn't a common subject in American high schools. This is slated to change: a new AP Computer Science subject is in the works, with efforts to get 10,000 highly-trained computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the US. If you want to join Mindy Kaling in supporting young girls entering computer science, tech, and coding, there's a lot [more inside]
Today, March 8, is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women, and focus attention on areas still needing action. In the run-up to the event, Reuters photographers in countries around the globe took a series of portraits of women and their daughters. They asked each mother what her profession was, at what age she had finished education, and what she wanted her daughter to become when she grew up. They also asked each daughter at what age she would finish education and what she wanted to do in the future. (SLAtlantic)
“I’ll tell him how important education is, and that I even want education for your children as well. And I would tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.’” - Malala Yousafzai (previously), shot by the Taliban a year ago, talks to the Daily Show's Jon Stewart about what she would do if a gunman came to shoot her again, as they have promised.
Teaching Cliteracy 101: "It is a curious dilemma to observe the paradox that on the one hand the female body is the primary metaphor for sexuality, its use saturates advertising, art and the mainstream erotic imaginary. Yet, the clitoris, the true female sexual organ, is virtually invisible." ~ Artist Sophia Wallace is using street art and an art exhibition that incorporates pithy slogans, 'scientific data, historical information as well as references to architecture, porn, pop culture and human rights' to make "the case for the clit". (Links throughout this post may be NSFW.) [more inside]
In 2003, the New York Times published a lengthy article by Lisa Belkin about women who were choosing to leave the workforce to be stay-at-home moms: The Opt-Out Generation. In the the last ten years, the article's conclusions regarding upper-middle-class women's choices about work and motherhood have been debated, studied, rediscovered, denied, lamented, and defended. It's been noted by many that "most mothers have to work to make ends meet but the press writes mostly about the elite few who don’t." Ms. Belkin's piece also never mentioned what what a disaster divorce or the death of a spouse can create for dependent women in such situations. After a decade, the Times is revisiting the topic: The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In.
In seventh grade, after school let out, Humaira Mohammed Bachal opened her home in Thatta (Pakistan) to 10-12 friends who weren't allowed to go to school, and taught them what she was learning. By the time she was 16 and ready to take her 9th grade exams, (over her father's objections,) she and four other girls were teaching more than 100 students. Now, her sister Tahira, (age 18,) is principal of the school Humaira founded: with 22 teachers serving more than 1,000 kids in a Karachi slum (yt). All in a country where if you are a young girl in a rural area, you are unlikely ever to see the inside of a classroom, and advocating education for young girls can be life-threatening. [more inside]
The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic and a set of Top 10 Charts. [more inside]
Most of the prints in the exhibit "Beauty, Virtue and Vice: Images of Women in Nineteenth-Century American Prints" were designed simply to please the eye, but they are also useful to historians who would like to understand how nineteenth-century Americans thought about the world in which they lived. Although prints are often works of imagination (even when they are grounded in fact), they still have much to tell us about the time and place in which they were created. [more inside]
About-Face aims to provide women and girls with skills to critically examine media messages that affect their positive self-image. Their website is a one-stop shop for simple, direct, teen-friendly educational materials about female self-esteem and body image. [more inside]
When a person graduates high school as one of the top students, all sorts of grand predictions are made for the person's future. But how many of them end up doing the things predicted of them? The Buffalo News did a feature in 2007 on what the top students in the Buffalo area from 1987 ended up doing after high school. Some of them have done remarkable things, while others have made their mark in smaller ways, all are interesting in their own way.
Armed with a netbook, medical supplies and a bicycle, Bangladesh's InfoLadies are giving millions of poor people access to crucial information on their doorsteps that will improve their chances in life
Early elementary school teachers in the United States are almost exclusively female (>90%), and we provide evidence that these female teachers’ anxieties relate to girls’ math achievement via girls’ beliefs about who is good at math. A study (abstract and full-text [pdf]) by the University of Chicago Department of Psychology and Committee on Education found a link between math anxiety in elementary school teachers and their female students' math abilities. [more inside]
Linda Sax's The Gender Gap in College argues there is a qualitative difference between how men and women experience college: on engagement, self-confidence and achievement. [more inside]
Virginia Woolf: A feminist's view on why we go to war.
Single-Sex Education When WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show decided to discuss (audio) the Summer's gender brouhaha, an interesting thing happened. The guest expected to support gender difference interpretations, Dr. Sax, and the guest expected to discuss structural challenges to women in the sciences, Dr. Bell, agreed on one solution: single-sex education. As the AP noted last summer, single-sex public education is up. Though some object on the basis that separate is never equal, Dr. Sax's organization claims both boys and girls see definite results. And even if you don't agree with Dr. Sax's reasoning, he says the studies are on his side. After all, girls schools have given us awesome ladies like Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, and me.
The psychology of taboo. Commenting on the Harvard hullabaloo that took place a few weeks ago, linguist/cognitive scientist Steven Pinker offers his opinion, using ideas he previously presented in The Blank Slate (via AL Daily)
"'The best thing is being able to write my name,' says Siddiqa, 18...." Simple and powerful lessons are being taught in Afghanistan.