ArticlePDF AvailableLiterature Review

Sexism in Schools

Authors:

Abstract

Sexism is gender-based prejudice or discrimination. As with other forms of prejudice and discrimination, it functions to maintain status and power differences between groups in society. One manifestation of sexism involves prejudice and discrimination against girls and women who seek to achieve in prestigious fields traditionally associated with males. Another manifestation of sexism, however, occurs when pressures are placed on boys and men to conform to traditional conceptions of masculinity. Over the last two decades, an increasing number of developmental and educational psychologists have become concerned about sexism directed toward children and adolescents in school contexts. Our chapter reviews the research on this topic. After providing an overview of different processes related to sexism, we examine how it is manifested in school contexts. Sexism is seen through gender-stereotyped biases against girls and boys in academic and athletic achievement. Also, it occurs through sexual harassment in social interactions. We also address factors related to children's awareness of sexism and coping responses to sexism. Finally, we consider possible ways to reduce sexism and foster effective coping in schools.
CHAPTER SIX
Sexism in Schools
Campbell Leaper*
,1
, Christia Spears Brown
*Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz, California, USA
Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
1
Corresponding author: e-mail address: cam@ucsc.edu
Contents
1. Overview of Types of Sexism 190
2. Perpetrators of Sexism 192
2.1 Teachers 193
2.2 Peers 194
2.3 Parents 195
2.4 Media 196
3. Gender Biases in School Achievement 197
3.1 Biases Against Girls in STEM 197
3.2 Biases Against Girls in Sports 200
3.3 Biases Against Boys in School Achievement 201
4. Sexual Harassment in School 202
4.1 Prevalence of Sexual Harassment in School Settings 203
4.2 Consequences of Sexual Harassment 204
5. Awareness of Sexism and Coping 204
5.1 Awareness of Sexism 205
5.2 Coping with Sexism 208
6. Reducing Sexism in Schools 209
6.1 Single-Gender Versus Coeducational SchoolsDebate 210
6.2 Interventions 211
6.3 School Climate 213
7. Conclusions 213
References 214
Abstract
Sexism is gender-based prejudice or discrimination. As with other forms of prejudice
and discrimination, it functions to maintain status and power differences between
groups in society. One manifestation of sexism involves prejudice and discrimination
against girls and women who seek to achieve in prestigious fields traditionally associ-
ated with males. Another manifestation of sexism, however, occurs when pressures are
placed on boys and men to conform to traditional conceptions of masculinity. Over the
last two decades, an increasing number of developmental and educational psycholo-
gists have become concerned about sexism directed toward children and adolescents
in school contexts. Our chapter reviews the research on this topic. After providing an
The Role of Gender in Educational Contexts and Outcomes (L. S. Liben & R. S. Bigler, Eds.) #2014 Elsevier Inc.
Advances in Child Development and Behavior ( J. B. Benson, Series Ed.), Vol. 47 All rights reserved.
ISSN 0065-2407 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.acdb.2014.04.001
189
overview of different processes related to sexism, we examine how it is manifested in
school contexts. Sexism is seen through gender-stereotyped biases against girls and
boys in academic and athletic achievement. Also, it occurs through sexual harassment
in social interactions. We also address factors related to children's awareness of sexism
and coping responses to sexism. Finally, we consider possible ways to reduce sexism
and foster effective coping in schools.
1. OVERVIEW OF TYPES OF SEXISM
The constructs known as stereotypes, attitudes, prejudice, and discrim-
ination are interrelated. The term stereotypes refers to particular attributes
believed to characterize a group (e.g., “Girls play with dolls”). The term
attitudes refers to the positive or negative emotional associations between par-
ticular attributes and groups. More specifically, a proscriptive attitude refers to
an attribute that the perceiver believes a group should exhibit (e.g., “Girls
should play with dolls”); whereas a prescriptive attitude refers to an attribute
that the perceiver considers that members of a group should avoid (e.g., “Boys
should not play with dolls”). Prejudice occurs when the perceiver evaluates
other persons based on their own stereotypes and attitudes (e.g., negative
perception of boys who play with dolls). Discrimination is the behavioral
expression of prejudice (e.g., bullying a boy who plays with dolls). When
prejudice and discrimination are based on a person’s gender, it constitutes
sexism. Analogous bias against sexual minorities is known as heterosexism.
There are two distinct, but related, types of sexism. According to Glick
and Fiske’s (1996) ambivalent sexism model, gender-based prejudice is
ambivalent because there are asymmetries in status and power between
men and women, yet there is male–female interdependence within families
and heterosexual relationships. In the model, sexism can include both hostile
and benevolent types. Hostile sexism refers to negative attitudes toward
individuals who violate traditional gender stereotypes. For example, as in
the previous example, teasing a boy who plays with dolls is an expression
of hostile sexism. In contrast, benevolent sexism includes protective pater-
nalism (i.e., belief that men must protect women) and complementary gen-
der differentiation (i.e., belief that women and men are different and
complement one another). For example, classrooms that teach boys and girls
very differently based on presumed gender differences often express benev-
olent sexism. Although benevolent sexism is often more attractive to
190 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
women and men than hostile sexism, both reinforce traditional gender roles
and status imbalances.
Researchers studying social cognition, based on a dual-process model of
cognition, have illustrated that stereotypes, attitudes, and prejudices can
operate at both conscious (or explicit) and unconscious (or implicit) levels
(e.g., Greenwald et al., 2002). Conscious or explicit stereotyped attitudes are
reflected in the views that individuals deliberately express to others. For
example, a child might observe a boy playing with a doll and state,
“Only girls can play with dolls.” Unconscious or implicit stereotyped atti-
tudes are seen when individuals respond automatically in situations based on
conditioned semantic and emotional associations to particular social catego-
ries. These automatic responses sometimes differ from the conscious or
explicit beliefs that children and adults hold (Greenwald et al., 2002).
Two kinds of sexism occurring in school contexts are addressed in this
chapter. First, gender biases are sometimes reflected in differential expecta-
tions for girls and boys in overall school success, particular academic subjects,
or athletics. These biases can affect children’s developing beliefs, motives,
and abilities. Second, sexual harassment is another form of sexism that affects
many students in schools. It refers to inappropriate or hostile sexual behav-
iors that occur in face-to-face interactions (e.g., sexual teasing, unwanted
touching) or through the use of online social media. With both types of sex-
ism, children’s achievement and well-being can be affected both directly and
indirectly. Direct influences occur when institutions, adults, and peers
encourage or discourage particular behaviors based on children’s gender.
Indirect influences occur when children internalize gender-stereotyped
expectations and thereby avoid practicing particular behaviors or achieving
in particular domains they see as contrary to their gender ideology.
Sexism is sometimes experienced differently based on the individual’s
ethnicity or race. As explicated in feminist standpoint theory, ethnicity/
race intersect with gender in complicated ways (Basow & Rubin, 1999;
Stewart & McDermott, 2004). Barbarin, Chinn, and Wright (2014)
[Chapter 10 of this volume] and Rowley et al. (2014) [Chapter 9 of this vol-
ume] address this complexity by highlighting the unique experiences of Afri-
can American boys within and outside of school contexts. This intersection
can impact sexism within schools in at least three related ways. One issue is
that children from different ethnic/racial groups may be differentially knowl-
edgeable about and sensitive to sexism. In some situations, both boys and girls
from minority ethnic/racial groups (such as African Americans, Latino/a
Americans, and Asian Americans) are more sensitive to all forms of
191Sexism in Schools
discrimination and therefore are more likely than White European American
children to recognize sexism (see Kane, 2000). However, at times, the
opposite trend seems to occur; that is, gender bias is most salient to White
European American children because gender is their primary social iden-
tity (Brown, Alabi, Huynh, & Masten, 2011; Turner & Brown, 2007).
A second issue related to ethnicity/race is that gender is sometimes con-
structed differently in certain cultural contexts. For example, gender-typing
pressures tend to be more traditional among Latino children compared to
White European American children (e.g., Azmitia & Brown, 2000).
Furthermore, among adolescents, many Latinas have distinct conceptions
of feminism, in which they combine cultural ideals of marianismo (e.g.,
Hurtado, 2003) with notions of gender equality (Manago, Brown, &
Leaper, 2009). In contrast, gender typing tends to be less traditional among
African American children than among European American children (see
Kane, 2000).
Finally, ethnicity and race are associated with their own academic stigmas
and achievement gaps. For example, throughout elementary school, Latino
students perform worse on average in math and reading, and are more likely
to perform below grade level, than their European American counterparts
(e.g., Lee & Bowen, 2006). These types of ethnic achievement gaps can
exacerbate or mitigate gender-based achievement gaps (e.g., gender gaps
in math achievement are highest for European American students and non-
existent among African American students; McGraw, Lubienski, &
Strutchens, 2006). Thus, any discussion of sexism within schools should
acknowledge that sexism occurs within a particular ethnic/racial context
and does not impact all children in the same way.
2. PERPETRATORS OF SEXISM
Sexism can be perpetuated in schools directly and indirectly. Within
the classroom, teachers can express implicit and explicit sexist attitudes and
show differential treatment of boys and girls (e.g., Tiedemann, 2000).
Within hallways and other public spaces in schools, peers can perpetrate sex-
ism by harassing and rejecting the target of their gender bias. Sexism can also
be perpetuated in schools indirectly. Parents are influential in shaping the
academic attitudes that children bring to school (e.g., Frome & Eccles,
1998; Herbert & Stipek, 2005). Popular media consumed by most children
is also a powerful source of sexism through its pervasive reinforcement of
gender stereotypes (Signorielli, 2012).
192 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
2.1. Teachers
Once children begin school, teachers may perpetuate sexism in various
ways. Studies from the 1990s found that some teachers hold sexist attitudes
about children’s abilities and interests. Some teachers, for example, were more
likely to perceive boys than girls as logical, competitive, liking math, indepen-
dent in math, and needing math and were more likely to attribute boys’ success
in math to ability but attribute girls’ success to effort (Fennema, Peterson,
Carpenter, & Lubinski, 1990; Jackson & Leffingwell, 1999; Li, 1999;
Tiedemann, 2000). These implicit and explicit biases can affectteacher’s expec-
tations for their students, and research has consistently shown that expectations
about students’ abilities can be self-fulfilling (Jussim & Harber, 2005).
The same era of research revealed that, in some studies, teachers treated
boys and girls differently in the classroom, such as favoring boys over girls
when calling on students, asking students to explain their answers, and giving
repeated explanations in science and math classes (AAUW, 1992; Jackson &
Leffingwell, 1999). When girls did get attention, it could be contradictory:
They may have received criticism for the content of work completed, yet
praise for the neatness and timeliness of the work (AAUW, 1992). Perhaps
because of this differential treatment, teachers’ gender stereotypes are
reflected in students’ gender stereotypes (Keller, 2001).
More recent research has shown that many teachers try to be egalitarian
in their explicit beliefs (Garrahy, 2001; Jones & Myhill, 2004). Teachers
often rate boys and girls similarly on math competencies, which is consistent
with boys’ and girls’ actual performance (Helwig, Anderson, & Tindal,
2001; Herbert & Stipek, 2005). Researchers have observed patterns that
are opposite to those seen in earlier studies; that is, some teachers now eval-
uate girls higher than boys in math competence when they are aware of stu-
dents’ gender—but not when they are blind to students’ gender (Lavy,
2008). Conversely, some teachers perceive boys as more likely to be under-
achievers and troublemakers compared to girls ( Jones & Myhill, 2004); this
difference is particularly pronounced for African American boys and girls
(Wood, Kaplan, & McLoyd, 2007). Yet, even when teachers perceive gen-
der similarities in overall academic competence, they often assume that boys
and girls have different learning styles and interests (Skelton et al., 2009).
Current research focuses on how teachers’ implicit gender biases may influ-
ence children within the classroom. An example of a how implicit sexism can
affect children is the findingthat female teachers’ own math anxiety is associated
with an increase in girls endorsing the stereotype that “boys are good at math
and girls are good at reading” (Beilock, Gunderson, Ramirez, & Levine, 2010).
193Sexism in Schools
This in turn is associated with girls’ lower math performance (Beilock et al.,
2010). Although the exact mechanism of influence is unclear, some female
teachers may model these stereotypes through their own nonverbal behavior
(see Lane, 2012; Petersen & Hyde, 2014 [Chapter 2 of this volume]).
2.2. Peers
Peers can also be sources of sexism at school for children and adolescents.
Although peer-directed sexism can be important across all school years,
the impact of peers is particularly influential during middle school
(Brown & Larson, 2009). Most frequently, peers express sexism through
perpetrating sexual harassment toward classmates and through rejecting or
teasing gender-atypical classmates.
As will be described below, peers are the most frequent perpetrators of
sexual harassment (Fineran & Bennett, 1999). Furthermore, because sexual
harassment typically occurs in public (often in school hallways and class-
rooms; Harris Interactive, 2001;Timmerman, 2005), peers have the oppor-
tunity to reinforce and regulate these behaviors. Indeed, adolescents indicate
that sexual harassment is both implicitly condoned and explicitly encouraged
by peers. About 54% of adolescents admit to perpetrating sexual harassment
against a peer (Harris Interactive, 2001). Of those students, a majority stated
that they sexually harassed a peer because “a lot of people do it” (reported by
39% of perpetrators) or “their friends encouraged them” (reported by 24% of
perpetrators; Harris Interactive, 2001). Peer norms about the acceptability of
sexual harassment are a strong predictor of an individual’s own sexually har-
assing behavior ( Jewell & Brown, 2013).
In addition to perpetrating and condoning sexual harassment, peers also
perpetrate sexism by teasing other classmates who do not conform to gender
norms. Research on group norms indicates that children who do not meet
the norms or fit the stereotypes of the group can be bullied, mocked,
or ostracized by group members (Abrams, Rutland, Cameron, & Ferrell,
2007). Peers frequently harass and ostracize boys and girls who are deemed
atypical for their gender ( Jewell & Brown 2014; Russell, Kosciw, Horn, &
Saewyc, 2010; Smith & Leaper 2006; Young & Sweeting, 2004). Con-
versely, highly gender-typical children have the most positive peer relations,
being rated as the most liked and the most popular (Egan & Perry, 2001;
Jewell & Brown, 2014; Lobel, Bempechat, Gewirtz, Shoken-Topaz, &
Bashe, 1993; Rose, Glick, & Smith, 2011). This form of sexism is condoned,
194 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
with adolescents reporting that it is more acceptable to exclude or tease a
gender-atypical peer than a gender-typical peer (Horn, 2008).
There is asymmetry, however, in that boys are more likely than girls to
experience negative peer sanctions for low levels of gender typicality.
Although peers make negative comments to girls when they engage in tra-
ditionally male activities such as athletics and mathematics (Leaper & Brown,
2008), boys who appear feminine or have poor athletic abilities face even
harsher repercussions from their peers (Lee & Troop-Gordon, 2011;
Pascoe, 2007). Poteat, Scheer, and Mereish (2014) [Chapter 8 of this vol-
ume] provide a detailed account of the frequency and consequences of
the victimization of gender non-conforming and sexual minority youth.
2.3. Parents
Although a discussion of the myriad ways that parents shape children’s gen-
dered behavior is beyond the scope of this chapter, parents can influence
children’s academic lives through their own implicit and explicit sexism,
thus becoming an indirect means by which sexism occurs in school
(Gunderson, Ramirez, Levine, & Beilock, 2012). Like teachers, some par-
ents show implicit sexist attitudes about their children’s academic abilities. In
some studies, parents perceived both science and math to be more important
for boys than for girls; they perceived boys to be more competent in science
and math than girls; and they expected higher science and math performance
from boys than from girls (Andre, Whigham, Hendrickson, & Chambers,
1999; Eccles, Freedman-Doan, Frome, Jacobs, & Yoon, 2000). Parents
assumed girls are as not interested in computer science as sons (Sa
´inz,
Pa
´lmen, & Garcı
´a-Cuesta, 2012). Furthermore, in one older study, parents
attributed boys’ math success to ability, but they attributed girls’ math suc-
cess to effort (Yee & Eccles, 1988).
Parents’ stereotypes, assumptions, and expectations can influence
their beliefs about their children’s abilities and interests, which in turn affect
children’s self-perceptions and performance (Gunderson et al., 2012; Jacobs,
Chhin, & Shaver, 2005). Research has consistently shown that parents’
expectations and beliefs about math (particularly when they align with gender
stereotypes) can impact children’s math attitudes and aptitudes (Yee & Eccles,
1988). Parental expectations, and the resulting encouragement and support
behaviors, can be more important than any actual academic experiences.
For example, Greek parents’ expectations and encouragement about com-
puter science were stronger predictors than children’s own computer-based
195Sexism in Schools
activities in predicting children’s computer self-efficacy (Vekiri & Chronaki,
2008). Beyond that, parents have been shown to steer children’s occupational
choices in stereotypical directions (Chhin, Bleeker, & Jacobs, 2008;
Whiston & Keller, 2004).
Parents’ gender biases regarding academic achievement may also include
the differential treatment of daughters and sons (Gunderson et al., 2012).
Studies conducted in the United States observed that parents of sons
discussed math and science concepts more frequently and in more detail
with their children than parents of daughters. For example, parents of pre-
schoolers at a science museum were three times more likely to explain sci-
ence exhibits to sons than to daughters (Crowley, Callanan, Tenenbaum, &
Allen, 2001). Another study observed that when parents were assigned to
teach their 10-year-old child about a physics phenomenon, fathers were
more likely to use teaching talk (e.g., by asking for causal explanations and
using conceptual descriptions) with sons than with daughters (Tenenbaum
& Leaper, 2003). Still another investigation noted that mother–son conversa-
tions included three times more talk about numbers and quantities than
did mother–daughter conversations (Chang, Sandhofer, & Brown, 2011).
These patterns of differential treatment can privilege boys with relatively more
background knowledge and comfort in math and science; in turn, these
experiences help to strengthen boys’ self-efficacy and interest in these academic
domains.
2.4. Media
Sexism has been documented in nearly all forms of children’s media. Media,
by presenting sexist images and narratives, perpetuates common gender ste-
reotypes that are then applied to children within schools. This perpetuation
of stereotypes can justify and reinforce sexism at school. For example, ana-
lyses of popular children’s television programs show that boys are portrayed
as answering more questions, telling others what to do more often, and
showing more ingenuity than girls (Aubrey & Harrison, 2004). These ste-
reotypes of boys as more assertive than girls are then reinforced by the dif-
ferential treatment of boys shown by teachers. Video games typically portray
boys as aggressive and girls as sexually objectified (Dill & Thill, 2007). These
stereotypes of aggressive boys and sexual girls further justify sexual harass-
ment by boys directed at girls.
Sexist portrayals of boys and girls also infiltrate educational media. In ele-
mentary school textbooks, females possess some masculine characteristics
(such as assertiveness), but males rarely possess feminine characteristics (such
196 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
as empathy; Evans & Davies, 2000). This trend is also evident in books
prevalent in school libraries. Even among award-winning children’s books
considered to be nonsexist, boys rarely have feminine-stereotyped traits or
occupations (Diekman & Murnen, 2004). Girls’ underrepresentation and
the gender-stereotypical portrayal of occupations in children’s book continue
in the new millennium (Hamilton, Anderson, Broaddus, & Young, 2006).
3. GENDER BIASES IN SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT
Sexism affects both boys and girls in school. Girls are stereotypically
assumed to be less competent than boys in subjects related to science, tech-
nology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Girls are also assumed to be
less athletically competent than boys (see Solmon, 2014 [Chapter 4 of this
volume]). Boys, however, are stereotypically assumed to perform worse than
girls in their overall school achievement. On the basis of these negative ste-
reotypes, boys and girls can be the target of sexism during academic classes
and sports participation. In this section, we outline the differences between
boys and girls in STEM subjects, athletic participation, and overall school
achievement and describe the ways in gender biases partially explain the gen-
der differences in these domains.
3.1. Biases Against Girls in STEM
Students’ achievement in subjects related to STEM is considered important
for economic success in today’s increasingly technological world (Zakaria,
2011). Accordingly, policymakers and researchers have been concerned
with the gender gap in some STEM fields. Compared to 57% of all bache-
lor’s degrees recently going to women in the United States, only 43% of
mathematics degrees, 20% of physics degrees, 16% of computer and infor-
mation sciences, and 18% of engineering went to women (National Center
for Education Statistics [NCES], 2013). The association between gender and
bachelor’s degrees in these fields varies somewhat across the world, however
(UNESCO, 2010). Also, the gender gap in all of these fields has narrowed
over the last four decades within the United States (National Science
Foundation [NSF], 2013). Finally, women are not underrepresented in all
STEM fields. In the United States, 58% of bachelor’s degrees in the biolog-
ical and biomedical sciences recently went to women (NSF, 2013).
Average gender differences in achievement in mathematics and some sci-
ence subjects emerge during adolescence (see Petersen & Hyde, 2014,
[Chapter 2 of this volume] for a review). The STEM-related subject that
197Sexism in Schools
has garnered the most interest is mathematics. Based on a recent meta-
analysis of data collected across the world (Lindberg, Hyde, Petersen, &
Linn, 2010), no significant average gender differences in mathematics test
performance were indicated during elementary school and middle school;
however, there was a significant but small difference favoring boys in high
school and college. The slight advantage seen among boys in high school
parallels a trend whereby girls tend to decrease their interest in mathematics
between middle school and high school (Hill, Corbett, & St. Rose, 2010).
As far as other STEM-related subjects, there is cross-national evidence
that boys scored significantly higher on average than girls on the TIMMS
high school physics test (TIMMS International Study Center, 2000). Also,
significantly higher averages for boys than for girls were indicated on the AP
Physics and the AP Computer Science exams (Hill et al., 2010). Despite the
slight average advantage for boys over girls in standardized test performances,
girls actually attained higher average grades in American high school math
and science courses (Hill et al., 2010; NCES, 2013).
Developmental scientists recognize that multiple factors contribute to
gender-related variations in achievement (see Leaper, 2013). There is strong
evidence, however, that gender biases are among these influences. Studies
suggest that many children stereotype males as better than females in many
STEM-related fields or they view STEM fields as male domains. For example,
this pattern has been indicated for mathematics (e.g., Muzzatti & Agnoli, 2007;
Steffens, Jelenec, & Noack, 2010), physics (e.g., Andre et al., 1999; Kessels,
2005), and computer science (e.g., Mercier, Barron, & O’Connor, 2006).
A few studies have begun to examine both implicit and explicit
stereotyping in children. In these investigations, some children who did
not explicitly endorse gender stereotypes about math showed evidence of
implicit gender stereotypes (Cvencek, Meltzoff, & Greenwald, 2011; Del
´o & Strasser, 2013; Steffens et al., 2010). These findings are notable
because implicit attitudes may have an impact on self-concepts and per-
formance (e.g., Nosek et al., 2009; Steffens & Jelenec, 2011). Nosek and
colleagues (2009) examined nation-level variations in gender-science
implicit stereotypes and eighth graders’ achievement in science and mathe-
matics. Across the 34 countries sampled, the implicit stereotyping of science
as male was strongly related to national gender differences in eighth graders’
performances in science (b¼0.56) and mathematics (b¼0.52).
Girls’ internalization of gender stereotypes may affect achievement in
STEM-related subjects. When interest and the perceived value of parti-
cular subjects have been assessed, researchers commonly observed girls
198 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
tended to rate mathematics, physical science, and computers and techno-
logy lower than did boys (e.g., Chow, Eccles, & Salmela-Aro, 2012;
Dickha
¨user & Stiensmeier-Pelster, 2003; Else-Quest, Hyde, & Linn,
2010; Kessels, 2005; Riegle-Crumb, Farkas, & Muller, 2006). As several
studies have documented, the perceived value of a domain generally predicts
subsequent achievement (see Eccles & Wigfield, 2002).
The impact of negative gender stereotypes on performance has also
been illustrated in research on stereotype threat. When a social identity
is threatened, it can lead to heightened arousal that disrupts working mem-
ory and can impair controlled cognitive processing (Krendl, Richeson,
Kelley, & Heatherton, 2008). As a result, performance in assessment set-
tings can suffer. According to a recent meta-analysis testing for stereotype
threat effects on female math performance (Picho, Rodriguez, & Finnie,
2013), there was a small overall effect size for high school students
(d¼0.30) indicating girls’ math performance significantly declined during
stereotype threat conditions. Other studies find it is possible to counteract
stereotype threat. For example, it is sometimes possible to boost a person’s
performance when a positive stereotype about a self-relevant social identity
is made salient (Ambady, Shih, Kim, & Pittinksy, 2001). Furthermore, ste-
reotype threat effects can be subverted if the person uses strategies such as
self-affirmation or focusing on an alternative social identity (Shapiro &
Williams, 2012).
Girls learn about negative gender stereotypes through their interactions
with parents, teachers, and peers. According to one survey study in the
United States, half of adolescent girls between 13 and 18 years reported hear-
ing disparaging statements about girls in math, science, or computers from
these sources (Leaper & Brown, 2008). The most commonly cited perpetra-
tors were male peers (32%), which were followed by female peers (22%),
teachers/coaches (23%), fathers (15%), and mothers (12%). The likelihood
of these reports increased with age. In a subsequent analysis of this data
(Brown & Leaper, 2010), it was found that girls’ experiences hearing
these sexist comments were negatively related to their ability beliefs and
interests in math and science (even after controlling for grades and family
backgrounds).
Some parents hold gender-stereotypical views about math and science
that may not reflect their children’s actual achievement. When this occurs,
girls’ motivation and performance may suffer. One longitudinal study found
that these negative stereotypes in mothers predicted subsequent declines in
daughters’ self-concepts and motivation in math and science (e.g., Bleeker &
199Sexism in Schools
Jacobs, 2004). Another investigation observed that parental gender
stereotyping of math was related to higher levels of intrusive parental support
during homework and lower math ability beliefs in daughters (Bhanot &
Jovanovic, 2005). Conversely, other studies suggest ways that some parents
may provide more encouraging behaviors to sons than to daughters
regarding their achievement in STEM-related subjects (e.g., Simpkins,
Davis-Kean, & Eccles, 2005; Tenenbaum & Leaper, 2003; Tenenbaum,
Snow, Roach, & Kurland, 2005).
In summary, negative gender stereotypes persist about girls in some
STEM fields. These stereotypes may lead some parents and teachers to
underestimate girls’ potential. Discrimination may occur through the rela-
tively greater provision of encouragement to boys than to girls for achieve-
ment in STEM subjects. Moreover, it may also involve overtly discouraging
comments about girls’ capacities to do well in these areas. Evidence suggests
many girls internalize these biases, decreasing their achievement within
STEM fields.
3.2. Biases Against Girls in Sports
One of the most dramatic gender-related changes in achievement seen in
the United States (and many other countries) has been the tenfold increase
in girls’ participation in high school sports since the 1972 enactment of
Title IX of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. At the time, participation in high
school sports was approximately 4% for girls and 50% for boys; today, it
is approximately 40% for girls and remains 50% for boys (Women’s
Sports Foundation, 2009).
Despite this change, many children continue to stereotype sports as a male
domain (e.g., Cockburn & Clarke, 2002; Rowley, Kutz-Costes, Mistry, &
Feagans, 2007; Shakib, 2003). Also, certain sports tend to be viewed as appro-
priate for “boys only” (e.g., football, wrestling) or for “girls only” (e.g., cheer-
leading, ballet) (Schmalz, Kerstetter, & Anderson, 2008). Furthermore, some
girls may find athleticism conflicts with their peers’ norms for femininity and
heterosexuality (Cockburn & Clarke, 2002; Shakib, 2003). Hence, in some
social settings, girls may experience pressures to drop out of sports. According
to one survey study in the United States, three-fourths of adolescent girls
between 13 and 18 years reported hearing disparaging statements about girls
in sports (Leaper & Brown, 2008). The most commonly cited perpetrators
were male peers (54%), which were followed by female peers (38%),
teachers/coaches (28%), fathers (30%), and mothers (25%). The likelihood
of these reports increased with age.
200 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
Even if most girls are not being actively discouraged to participate in
sports, many of them may not be getting the same degree of support that
boys experience. Studies suggest that peer popularity is more strongly tied
to athletic participation among boys than among girls (e.g., Shakib, Veliz,
Dunbar, & Sabo, 2011). Also, some parents are more likely to expect athletic
achievement in sons than in daughters and therefore may express more
enthusiasm for their son’s sports involvement. In turn, parents’ expectations
of success generally tend to predict children’s actual achievement (e.g.,
Fredricks & Eccles, 2002).
Finally, the sports culture can be a context in which sexist and hetero-
sexist attitudes are reinforced in boys. In many schools, teammates and
coaches use misogynistic and antigay comments to enforce conformity
and pressure achievement in players (Messner, 1998). Furthermore, toler-
ance for aggression on the field or court may generalize whereby some ath-
letes view aggressive behavior as legitimate for solving problems outside of
the sport (Conroy, Silva, Newcomer, Walker, & Johnson, 2001). In some
cases, this may extend to an increased risk among some male athletes for sex-
ual violence (Forbes, Adams-Curtis, Pakalka, & White, 2006).
3.3. Biases Against Boys in School Achievement
Compared to girls, boys are more likely to get lower grades and are more
likely to drop out of high school in most industrialized countries
(UNESCO, 2010). (In many nonindustrialized countries, the opposite trend
is seen, whereby school access may be limited primarily or solely to boys.)
The specific subjects with the largest gender gap in achievement favoring girls
include reading, writing, and the arts (Eurydice Network, 2010; NCES,
2013). The gender gap in academic achievement extends into college.
Among all bachelor’s degrees recently awarded in the United States, only
43% went to men (NCES, 2013); a similar gender gap in college degrees
is seen in most OECD countries (OECD, 2013). Within the United States,
the gender gap in academic achievement is wider for African Americans and
Latino/as youths than for White European Americans or Asian Americans
(NCES, 2013). Research suggests that sexism and adherence to traditional
notions of masculinity may partly account for these gender gaps.
Sexism functions to maintain traditional status and power relations
between men and women in society. One manifestation of sexism involves
discrimination against girls and women who seek to achieve in prestigious
fields traditionally associated with males (e.g., STEM fields and sports).
Another manifestation of sexism, however, occurs when pressures are placed
201Sexism in Schools
on boys and men to conform to traditional conceptions of masculinity. For
example, boys who are not viewed as tough or athletic are commonly teased
(Jewell & Brown, 2014).
Traditional masculinity can undermine some boys’ academic achieve-
ment. In some communities, doing well in school is viewed as a violation
of masculine norms (Kessels & Steinmayr, 2013; Legewie & DiPrete,
2012). For example, boys who are concerned with appearing tough may
be reluctant to seek help or to comply with teachers’ authority (e.g.,
Kiefer & Ryan, 2008; Santos, Galligan, Pahlke, & Fabes, 2013). In addition,
specific subjects—such as reading or the arts—may be viewed as being espe-
cially feminine (e.g., Plante, The
´ore
ˆt, & Favreau, 2009; Rowley et al.,
2007). Thus, boys who do well in school or who like feminine-stereotyped
subjects may be teased by their male peers (e.g., Sherriff, 2007; Van de Gaer,
Pustjens, Van Damme, & De Munter, 2006). Furthermore, these pressures
may be more common among youths from lower-income or some ethnic
minority backgrounds (Fuller-Rowell & Doan, 2010).
Endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology may undermine some
boys’ academic achievement and lead them to resist teachers’ authority.
However, some teachers and school administrators may exaggerate the
extent and the degree that these patterns occur among boys. Teachers
may form generalized expectations that girls are better than boys at school
(e.g., Jones & Myhill, 2004). Boys may infer these sentiments about
teachers’ expectations (e.g., Hartley & Sutton, 2013). Also, boys in
general—but especially African American and Latino boys—are subject
to disproportionate rates of disciplinary action for school misbehavior
(Barbarin et al., 2014 [Chapter 10 of this volume]; Losen, 2011;
Rowley et al., 2014 [Chapter 9 of this volume]).
4. SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN SCHOOL
Sexual harassment includes sexually disparaging comments, unwanted
sexual interest, unwanted touching, and sexual coercion. It can involve
physical aggression (e.g., unwanted touching, sexual coercion) or verbal
aggression (e.g., unwelcome sexual comments, homophobic insults). Also,
it can be expressed directly in face-to-face interactions or via electronic mes-
sages sent to the victim; or sexual harassment can be expressed indirectly
behind the target’s back (e.g., spreading sexual rumors). The prevalence
and the consequences of sexual harassment in school are reviewed below.
202 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
4.1. Prevalence of Sexual Harassment in School Settings
Sexual harassment is a common experience for girls and boys in many coun-
tries around the world (see Leaper & Robnett, 2011 for a review). For exam-
ple, the American Association of University Women (AAUW, 2011)
conducted a study of sexual harassment in the United States based on a
nationally representative sample of students in grades 7–11. Across all grades,
56% of girls and 40% of boys reported experiences with sexual harassment.
The gender gap in sexual harassment increased with age; among 12th
graders, 62% of girls and 32% of boys reported having experienced sexual
harassment. When specific types of sexual harassment were examined across
all grade levels, girls were twice as likely as boys to report being targets of
unwelcome sexual comments/jokes (46% of girls vs. 22% of boys). Girls
and boys reported experiencing antigay or anti-lesbian insults at similar rates
(18% of girls vs. 19% of boys). Given the importance of electronic media in
many youths’ lives, it is also pertinent to note that 36% of girls and 24% of
boys experienced online sexual harassment through text messages, e-mail, or
Web postings.
The AAUW survey also asked students to identify the gender of the
perpetrators and to evaluate the attributes most likely associated with the
targets of sexual harassment. In general, boys were more likely than girls
to be perpetrators of sexual harassment. Among the students experiencing
sexual harassment, 66% identified boys, 19% identified girls, and 11% iden-
tified a combination of boys and girls as the perpetrators. The attributes asso-
ciated with students viewed as most likely to be sexually harassed reflected
characteristics associated with sexual attractiveness or traditional gender
roles. The qualities attributed to girls who were most likely to be sexually
harassed included being physically developed (58%), very pretty (41%),
not pretty or not very feminine (32%), or overweight (30%). The attributes
associated with boys considered most likely to be sexually harassed included
being not athletic or not very masculine (37%), overweight (30%), or good
looking (11%).
Other surveys point to similar patterns as those reported in the AAUW
survey, although the incidences of sexual harassment vary somewhat
(Chiodo, Wolfe, Croosk, Hughes, & Jaffe, 2009; Lacasse, Purdy, &
Mendelson, 2003; Leaper & Brown, 2008; Pepler et al., 2006; Petersen &
Hyde, 2009; Wei & Chen, 2012). In some studies, higher rates of peer sexual
harassment were indicated for boys than for girls (Petersen & Hyde, 2009;
Wei & Chen, 2012), which may be related to higher rates of same-gender
203Sexism in Schools
harassment among boys than among girls. Studies further suggest sexual
harassment may be especially likely for sexual-minority youths (i.e., lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex; e.g., Williams, Connolly, Pepler, &
Craig, 2005). Also, higher rates of sexual harassment may occur for students
in lower than in higher income neighborhoods (AAUW, 2011). The
AAUW survey did not find evidence that ethnic or racial background mod-
erated the incidence of sexual harassment (AAUW, 2011).
4.2. Consequences of Sexual Harassment
Besides being somewhat more liable to be targets of sexual harassment, girls
are more likely than boys to be negatively affected by sexual harassment
(AAUW, 2011; Fineran & Bolen, 2006). Sexual harassment also tends to
have a more negative impact on sexual-minority boys than on heterosexual
boys (Kosciw, Greytak, Diaz, & Bartkiewicz, 2010). Negative reactions to
sexual harassment include internalizing symptoms (e.g., anxiety, depression)
and decline in academic performance (see AAUW, 2011; Leaper &
Robnett, 2011; Poteat et al., 2014 [Chapter 8 of this volume]). For example,
in the AAUW survey, some of the most commonly reported reactions to
sexual harassment included not wanting to go to school (37% of girls and
25% of boys), finding it difficult to study (24% of girls and 24% of boys),
staying home from school (14% of girls and 9% of boys), and stopping doing
an activity or sport (9% of girls and 5% of boys). A longitudinal study of
Canadian youths (Chiodo et al., 2009) found that sexual harassment victim-
ization during the 9th grade predicted higher incidences during the 11th
grade of feeling unsafe in school, emotional distress, substance abuse, and
victimization by peers and dating partners. Experiences with sexual harass-
ment also appear related to increased body image concerns among girls
(Chiodo et al., 2009; Lindberg, Grabe, & Hyde, 2007). Thus, repeated
experiences with sexual harassment can have negative consequences on girls’
and boys’ socioemotional adjustment and academic achievement.
5. AWARENESS OF SEXISM AND COPING
In addition to research focusing on the impacts of sexism within
schools, research also examines children’s perceptions of sexism at the indi-
vidual level, their developing awareness of sexism in general, and their cop-
ing responses when sexism is encountered. Perceiving sexism can be a
complex phenomenon. There are some instances when a child or an ado-
lescent may be the target of sexism but is unaware of it. For example, a girl
can hear a discouraging comment about her math abilities, but she may
204 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
attribute it to her individual poor performance rather than a gender-based
stereotype. There are other instances when the child is the target of sexism
and perceives it as bias. A high-achieving boy may be teased for not seeming
tough, but he can recognize the teasing is based on a stereotype of how boys
are supposed to act. Each situation may differentially impact the child.
At the individual level, perceiving sexism can be associated with negative
psychological outcomes, such as greater stress, lower global self-esteem,
more emotional problems, and more behavioral problems (e.g., DuBois,
Burk-Braxton, Swenson, Tevendale, & Hardesty, 2002). Simultaneously,
there can also positive consequences of perceiving individual sexism. After
receiving personal negative feedback, individuals can attribute the feedback
to gender bias as opposed to their own competency, thus maintaining a pos-
itive sense of self-efficacy (Brown, Bigler, & Chu, 2010). At the broader
group level, knowledge of sexism can help members of a group attribute
underrepresentation to gender bias instead of innate group traits. Girls,
for example, can attribute the lack of female U.S. Presidents to institutional
sexism instead of women being incompetent leaders (Bigler, Arthur,
Hughes, & Patterson, 2008). Knowledge of historical sexism regarding math
and science careers has been shown to motivate girls to combat future dis-
crimination (Pahlke, Bigler, & Green, 2010). Knowledge of sexism can also
help individuals be more accepting of gender nonconforming peers, to chal-
lenge sexist comments by their peers, and to view media (and all other envi-
ronmental inputs) through a “sexism” filter that prevents such messages from
reinforcing personal gender stereotyping and prejudice (Pahlke, Bigler, &
Martin, 2014).
Most importantly, when children are aware of sexism and can perceive
it in any given situation, they then have the opportunity to cope with it. In
the following section, we first describe children’s developing awareness of
sexismandthendescribewaysinwhich children cope with sexism when it
does occur.
5.1. Awareness of Sexism
To be generally aware of sexism, children must first have knowledge of gen-
der stereotypes and gender inequalities. Evidence suggests that children are
aware of gender stereotypes early in childhood, well before they enter ele-
mentary school (see Halim & Ruble, 2010). As children get older, their
knowledge of gender inequalities increases. Liben, Bigler, and Krogh
(2001) found that, by middle childhood, children were aware of the greater
status (e.g., greater income) associated with the jobs performed by men
205Sexism in Schools
compared to jobs performed by women, even when the jobs are fictional
and thus not based on actual job characteristics. By the start of elementary
school, the majority of children were aware that no woman has ever been
president of the United States, although this knowledge became more com-
mon across the elementary school years (Bigler et al., 2008). A little more
than one-quarter of children (with slightly higher rates among girls than
among boys) spontaneously attributed the historical lack of female presidents
to discrimination (e.g., “People like voting for boys more than girls.”). One
quarter of children agreed with the statement that it is currently against the
law for a woman to be president (a form of institutional sexism) and half
believed that individual voters would be discriminatory (Bigler et al.,
2008). As children enter adolescence, they become more aware of societal
levels of gender inequality. Yet, although women still make 70 cents for
every dollar paid to men and are underrepresented in the upper echelon
of corporations, children are more likely to perceive status inequalities in
politics than in the business world (Neff, Cooper, & Woodruff, 2007).
Beyond knowledge of sexism in general, children can also recognize
gender discrimination in their own lives by middle childhood. In surveys
about school gender bias given to students in fourth through eighth grade
(Brown et al., 2011), girls typically reported that boys receive preferential
treatment in athletics (e.g., “The P.E. teacher always thinks boys will be
faster”); in contrast, boys reported that girls are given preferential treatment
within the classroom (e.g., “When a girl does something wrong, the teacher
never gets her in trouble; a boy does the same thing, and he always gets in
trouble”).
Although children and adolescents are generally aware of sexism
and capable of perceiving discrimination (see Brown & Bigler, 2005), indi-
viduals perceive themselves to be the target of discrimination rather infre-
quently (Crosby, 1984; Taylor, Wright, Moghaddam, & Lalonde, 1990).
As reported above, although approximately 50% of adolescent girls reported
that they had experienced gender discrimination within academic or athletic
domains, most girls reported it happening only once or twice within the last
year. Interestingly, such low frequencies are common in studies of percep-
tion of racial and ethnic discrimination as well (e.g., Benner & Graham,
2011; Brody et al., 2006; Greene, Way, & Pahl, 2006). The adoption of con-
servative standards for labeling negative treatment as gender discrimination
or sexism may be due to the psychological costs associated with perceiving
oneself to be the target of discrimination (Quinn, Roese, Pennington, &
Olson, 1999).
206 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
To date, most research on children’s perceptions of sexism involves ret-
rospective self-reports of their past experiences with discrimination.
Although such studies are important, they provide little information about
when and why some but not other individuals perceive themselves to be tar-
gets of discrimination. Furthermore, it begs the question of whether children
are actually only infrequently subject to discriminatory treatment on the
basis of gender or whether individual and developmental factors affect chil-
dren’s tendency to perceive experiences as discriminatory. To answer these
questions, experimental studies are required in which the feedback and the
context are tightly controlled. Two experimental studies have examined
children’s perceptions of individual sexism. In one study, elementary school
children were read stories in which a teacher treated a boy and a girl differ-
ently from one another. When children were told that the teacher had a his-
tory of favoring one gender over the other, children were more likely to
attribute the teacher’s behavior to discrimination than more benign reasons,
and this attribution was more frequent among children in upper than in
lower elementary school (Brown & Bigler, 2004). However, when children
were given no information about the teacher’s past choices or were told the
teacher had a history of fairness, they were more likely to blame the child’s
lack of effort or ability for the negative treatment. A slightly different pattern
emerged in a separate experimental study in which children were given neg-
ative feedback about their own performance in a presumed art contest (i.e.,
they were told they lost an art contest; Brown et al., 2010). Of the very few
children who perceived personal discrimination (8 of 108 children), they
only perceived their own negative feedback to be due to gender discrimina-
tion when they were told (a) the contest judges were of the other gender, (b)
the contest judges picked other-gender winners in previous years, and (c) the
contest judges picked other-gender winners this year. Despite all of the
experimental “clues” suggesting gender discrimination at work and despite
children’s awareness of sexism in general, very few children perceived
themselves to the target of gender discrimination. These findings suggest
that surveys of children and adolescents’ experience with sexism are likely
to yield underestimates of the frequency of these experiences.
Beyond children’s tendency to perceive gender discrimination in certain
contexts more than others, developmental models of children and adoles-
cents’ perceptions of discrimination posit that awareness of sexism is
influenced by the child’s cognitive development, situational variables, gen-
der attitudes, and gender (Brown & Bigler, 2005). For example, within any
given situation, children with more advanced social perspective-taking
207Sexism in Schools
abilities and classification skills, and children who can better compare their
outcomes with others, will be more likely to perceive sexism than children
with less advanced cognitive abilities. Furthermore, evidence suggests that
children perceive sexism more readily when it is directed toward others
or toward a group than when directed at themselves (Brown & Bigler,
2004; Brown et al., 2010), and when they perceive available social supports
(Leaper & Brown, 2008). Children’s gender attitudes are also associated with
their awareness of sexism. Adolescent girls were more likely to recognize
gender discrimination when they held gender-egalitarian attitudes
(Brown & Bigler, 2004; Leaper & Brown, 2008) or reported having learned
about feminism (Leaper & Brown, 2008). Finally, girls are more likely to
perceive sexism than boys during middle childhood and adolescence; this
pattern may reflect girls’ greater awareness of their lower social status relative
to males (e.g., Brown & Bigler, 2004; Brown et al., 2011, 2010; DuBois
et al., 2002). When youths perceive sexism, the ways in which they cope
with the experience are important in influencing the outcome.
5.2. Coping with Sexism
According to Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) model of stress and coping,
effective coping to any stressful situation, including experiencing sexism,
depends on the person’s cognitive appraisal of the stressful event, and the
subsequent type of behavioral coping strategy used. There are two broad
types of coping strategies used in response to sexism, and the type of strategy
used is partially based on the individual’s appraisal of the costs and benefits of
each behavioral response. A general distinction is often made between
approach (or engagement) and avoidant (or disengagement) coping strate-
gies (Compas, Connor-Smith, Saltzman, Thomsen, & Wadsworth, 2001;
Lazarus, 1999; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Magley, 2002). Approach strategies
are oriented toward addressing the threat. These might include confronting
the source of the stress (e.g., confronting someone about sexist behavior) or
seeking social support (e.g., talking to someone about what happened). Peo-
ple may seek others to gain emotional reassurance, to clarify their under-
standing of the situation, or to get advice. In contrast, avoidance strategies
are oriented away from the threat such as downplaying or ignoring the
event. In general, research indicates that approach strategies are more effec-
tive than avoidant strategies in reducing stress in adolescents (Compas et al.,
2001) and adults (Lazarus, 1999). In response to sexism, approach strategies
208 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
can empower the individual, reduce stress, and increase motivation; whereas
avoidance strategies can lead to a sense of helplessness and diminish motiva-
tion (e.g., Miller & Major, 2000; Swim & Thomas, 2006).
Recent research has highlighted the relevance of the stress and coping
model to adolescent girls and women’s experiences with sexism (e.g.,
Ayres, Friedman, & Leaper, 2009; Cortina & Wasti, 2005; Kaiser &
Miller, 2004). For example, Kaiser and Miller (2004) found that women’s
cognitive appraisals predicted their likelihood of confrontational responses
to recent experiences with sexism. Researchers have found that adolescent
girls and young women who perceive social support were more likely to use
approach coping strategies than girls without social support (Holahan,
Valentiner, & Moos, 1995; Moradi & Funderburk, 2006). Feeling supported
from friends or parents (particularly mothers) may bolster girls’ confidence to
use approach coping strategies when sexism occurs (Leaper, Brown, &
Ayres, 2013). This could include either confronting perpetrators of sexism
or seeking others for advice and emotional support (e.g., Cortina &
Wasti, 2005).
Having a meaningful social identity, particularly one that is empowering
in the face of sexism, also seems to be important in helping individuals cope
with sexism. Some evidence, for example, suggests that having a feminist
identification helps girls (and women) cope with gender discrimination
(e.g., Ayres et al., 2009; Leaper & Arias, 2011). This parallels research on
ethnic identity, which finds that having a positive ethnic identity helps buffer
against the negative effects of ethnic discrimination (e.g., Uman
˜a-Taylor &
Updegraff, 2007).
6. REDUCING SEXISM IN SCHOOLS
Because of the important social, emotional, and academic conse-
quences of sexism from peers and teachers, numerous attempts have been
made to reduce gender biases in school. Some attempts involve experimental
interventions directed at changing children’s behaviors and attitudes. Some
attempts involve changing the school itself: either the school climate or the
school infrastructure. In this section, we outline ways that sexism can poten-
tially be reduced within schools, beginning with changes to the gender com-
position of the schools and then discussing interventions that have been
implemented within existing schools.
209Sexism in Schools
6.1. Single-Gender Versus Coeducational SchoolsDebate
One approach to reduce sexism within schools has been to segregate schools, or
at least classes within schools, on the basis of gender (see Bigler, Hayes, & Liben,
2014 [Chapter 7 of this volume]). Instituting single-gender public education is
possible because of changes to educational policy enacted after No Child Left
Behind Act was passed in 2001 and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE)
issued new regulations in 2006. Since then, more than 1000 school districts in
46 states have instituted some degree of single-sex public education (although
the exact numbers are difficult to determine; Klein & Sesma, 2011).
Proponents of single-gender schools argue that segregated education
reduces sexism in schools in two ways. First, several influential proponents
of single-gender education argue that there are important, innate sex differ-
ences between boys’ and girls’ brain structure (e.g., differences in size of cor-
pus collosum), hormones, and physiology (Gurian, 2001; Sax, 2005).
Because of these supposed differences, they argue that boys and girls have
different learning styles and interests, and teaching boys and girls similarly
constitutes a form of bias. For example, Gurian (2001) argues that girls
are not as capable as boys of abstract thought, instead needing to “have things
conceptualized in usable, everyday language, replete with concrete details”
(p. 46). Thus, according to this argument, it is unfair to teach girls’ abstract
concepts in the same way that boys are taught. Supporters of this approach
also argue that boys and girls have innately different interests, and to be equi-
table, schools should tailor education toward those interests. For example,
some schools are using hunting analogies in lessons for boys and dishwashing
analogies for girls (Weil, 2008).
The second reason that some schools implement single-gender educa-
tion is based on the argument that, regardless of biological and neurological
differences, the current coeducational schools are overly feminine and fail to
meet the needs of boys, especially ethnic minority boys (see Barbarin et al.,
2014 [Chapter 10 of this volume]), thus contributing to the behavioral prob-
lems of boys (e.g., Whitmire, 2010). They cite evidence that boys are twice
as likely as girls to be suspended and more than twice as likely to be diag-
nosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (Rao & Seaton,
2009). They also argue that girls are overly inhibited around boys, largely
because of boys’ domination of teacher attention and girls’ concerns with
being attractive to boys (see Salomone, 2006).
There are many critics of single-gender education. Critics of single-
gender education argue that educational segregation by gender is, by
210 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
definition, a form of gender bias (Halpern et al., 2011). Critics point to
research indicating that gender segregation in education actually fosters
and increases gender stereotypes (Fabes, Pahlke, Martin, & Hanish, 2013).
Recent research shows that randomly assigning children to one single-
gender class led to a 14% increase in the odds of believing that “boys are
better than girls at math” and “girls are better than boys at language arts.”
Children who were randomly assigned to eight single-gender classes were
112% more likely to become gender-stereotypic (Fabes et al., 2013). Addi-
tional negative consequences of gender segregation are outlined by Martin,
Fabes, & Hanish (2014) [Chapter 5 of this volume].
Neuroscientists also point out that there are, in fact, very few innate dif-
ferences in brain structures, hormones, and physiology (Eliot, 2009). They
argue that there are small differences at birth that become larger as children
are increasingly socialized in gender-stereotypical ways (Eliot, 2009). Thus,
basing educational policy on sex differences that do not exist is misguided
(Halpern et al., 2011).
Several meta-analyses have examined whether single-gender education is
educationally beneficial compared to coeducational education. Shortly before
issuing regulations for the implementation of single-gender education, the U.
S. Department of Education (2005) found that there were no conclusive edu-
cational advantages to single-gender education. After taking into account var-
ious moderators (e.g., participants’ socioeconomic status, methodological
factors), the results of two additional meta-analyses indicated no meaningful
differences in educational outcomes when comparing single-gender versus
coeducational schooling (Pahlke, Hyde, & Allison, 2014; Signorella,
Hayes, & Li, 2013). Because there seem to be important disadvantages of
single-gender education (i.e., increased gender stereotypes), and no educa-
tional advantages (Pahlke et al., 2014; Signorella et al., 2013; U.S.
Department of Education, 2005), critics of single-gender education argue that
segregating by gender is not the solution for reducing sexism within schools
(see Bigler et al., 2014 [Chapter 7 of this volume]).
6.2. Interventions
Other approaches to reducing sexism within schools have taken a more direct
approach to countering the bias that occurs. Some approaches teach children to
confront sexism they encounter; some approaches help children attribute neg-
ative feedback to discrimination when it is appropriate; and other approaches
try to reduce the impact of sexism on children’s academic outcomes.
211Sexism in Schools
First, some interventions have taught individuals to confront instances of
bias that they witness. Research has shown that teaching people to publically
confront instances of prejudice can reduce the biases of those who witness
the confrontation (Czopp, Monteith, & Mark, 2006). This has been shown
to be particularly influential when the confrontation comes from an individ-
ual who is not the target of bias but rather from a bystander (Rasinski &
Czopp, 2010). Extending this research (which was focused on ethnic bias)
to instances of gender bias, some studies have examined whether con-
fronting sexism reduces the sexist attitudes of those who witness the con-
frontation. Within the classroom, teachers are important individuals to
train to confront sexism. Teachers who confront sexism in the classroom,
because of their special authority within the class, are particularly able to
model a gender-fair norm (Pornpitakpan, 2004). In one study, students
saw videotaped vignettes in which a student made a sexist comment about
girls not being good at math (Boysen, 2013). The teacher in the video either
confronted the offending student or ignored the comment. College students
who watched the teacher confront the sexist student showed reduced sexist
attitudes after watching the confrontation (Boysen, 2013). Importantly, in a
follow-up study, students showed a similar reduction in sexist attitudes after
watching a peer confront a sexist student (Boysen, 2013).
Fewer interventions have tried to teach children how to confront, and
thus reduce, sexism. In one effective example, Lamb, Bigler, Liben, and
Green (2009) taught elementary school children to respond to sexist com-
ments they heard from peers. Most of the comments that peers said to one
another involved teasing a gender-atypical student. The researchers taught
children to use funny retorts (e.g., “You can’t say ‘Girls can’t play’”) or
direct rebuttals to the sexist comments. They found that the training
intervention, particularly when children practiced the responses using
role-playing, was effective in increasing children’s confrontation of sexist
comments (similar results were replicated in Pahlke et al., 2014). Indeed,
using retorts in response to sexism seemed to spread over time to the other
experimental groups. Large-scale bystander intervention studies (e.g., the
Green Dot program in which college students are taught to speak out
and report instances of violence against women) have also been effective
in increasing confrontations against sexism (Coker et al., 2011).
Other approaches have suggested that it is beneficial for children to rec-
ognize sexism when they encounter it, thus making it possible to attribute
their negative feedback to external (rather than internal) causes and recog-
nize it as unfair. To test this premise, the effects of learning about gender
discrimination on American adolescent girls’ science motivation were
212 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
tested in an experiment (Weisgram & Bigler, 2007). Girls participated in a
program aimed at increasing interest in science, with the experimental
group additionally receiving lessons about gender-based occupational
discrimination. Girls in the experimental group showed increased self-
efficacy and value about science after learning about gender discrimination
compared to the control group (who did not learn about discrimination).
Additional research has shown that learning about past discrimination
inspires girls to battle future discrimination (Pahlke et al., 2010). These
studies suggest that one way to reduce the impact of sexism is to directly
teach about sexism.
6.3. School Climate
Because bystander inventions and confronting sexism when it is encoun-
tered seem to be an important step in reducing sexism within schools,
approaches that alter the entire school climate are likely to be the most effec-
tive in reducing sexism. In other words, it is likely that school-wide pro-
grams that make sexism unacceptable, and make it normative to confront
sexism, will show the greatest reduction in sexism. These broad-based inter-
ventions have been shown to be effective in reducing bullying at schools
(O’Moore & Minton, 2005; Salmivalli, Kaukiainen, & Voeten, 2005).
The goal of these approaches is to change the climate so that peers are intol-
erant to bullying. Research has shown that the greater and more widespread
the implementation, the larger the effects. For example, schools were most
effective in reducing bullying when they implemented a school-wide policy
against bullying; when teachers were educated about bullying; and when
teachers worked with their entire classroom using role-playing and esta-
blishing anti-bullying rules (Salmivalli et al., 2005).
Sexual harassment perpetration seems to be largely influenced by school
climate (Attar-Schwartz, 2009). For example, Ormerod, Collinsworth, and
Perry (2008) examined the impact of sexual harassment on high school stu-
dents. School climate moderated the impact of sexual harassment on both
girls and boys. When the school climate was tolerant of sexual harassment,
the impacts on self-esteem, body image, psychological distress, school with-
drawal, and perceptions of school safety were worse.
7. CONCLUSIONS
As we have reviewed in our chapter, sexism in schools can undermine
the academic achievement and social adjustment of girls and boys. Sexism
outside of school can also affect children’s behavior and motivation in the
213Sexism in Schools
classroom. The perpetrators of sexism may include teachers, parents, peers,
and media. In these contexts, children may experience gender-stereotyped
biases regarding the kinds of achievements that are viewed desirable or inap-
propriate for girls and boys. Some of the biases that we reviewed include
negative stereotypes about girls and women in many STEM fields and ath-
letics. We also noted how traditional notions of masculinity can undermine
boys’ overall academic achievement. Furthermore, surveys indicate that
most girls and boys experience sexual harassment in schools. In addition
to the negative impact on their socioemotional adjustment, sexual harass-
ment can reduce students’ academic motivation. Next, we addressed factors
related to students’ awareness of sexism in schools as well as effective coping
strategies that can bolster students’ resilience in the face of sexist events.
Finally, we considered some of the strategies that have been examined for
reducing gender bias and sexism in schools. In contrast to some who have
advocated single-gender schools as a means to improve boys’ and girls’ aca-
demic success, comprehensive reviews of the research literature do not point
to meaningful difference between single-gender and coeducational school-
ing in relation to student outcomes. Other strategies, such as teaching about
gender bias, promoting proactive coping in children, and fostering an egal-
itarian school climate, may be more promising ways to increase the success of
both girls and boys in our schools.
REFERENCES
Abrams, D., Rutland, A., Cameron, L., & Ferrell, J. (2007). Older but wilier: In-group
accountability and the development of subjective group dynamics. Developmental Psychol-
ogy,43, 134–148.
Ambady, N., Shih, M., Kim, A., & Pittinksy, T. L. (2001). Stereotype susceptibility in chil-
dren: Effects of identity activation on quantitative performance. Psychological Science,12,
385–390.
American Association of University Women (AAUW). (1992). How schools shortchange girls.
Washington, DC: Author.
American Association of University Women (AAUW). (2011). Crossing the line: Sexual
harassment at school. Washington, DC: Author.
Andre, T., Whigham, M., Hendrickson, A., & Chambers, S. (1999). Competency beliefs,
positive affect, and gender stereotypes of elementary students and their parents about sci-
ence versus other school subjects. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,36, 719–747.
Attar-Schwartz, S. (2009). Peer sexual harassment victimization at school: The roles of stu-
dent characteristics, cultural affiliation, and school factors. The American Journal of Ortho-
psychiatry,79, 407–420.
Aubrey, J., & Harrison, K. (2004). The gender-role content of children’s favorite television
programs and its links to their gender-related perceptions. Media Psychology,6, 111–146.
Ayres, M. M., Friedman, C. K., & Leaper, C. (2009). Individual and situational factors related
to young women’s likelihood of confronting sexism in their everyday lives. Sex Roles,61,
449–460.
214 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
Azmitia, A., & Brown, J. R. (2000). Latino immigrant parents’ beliefs about the “path of life” of
their adolescent children. In J. M. Contreras, K. A. Kerns, & A. M. Neal-Barnett (Eds.),
Latino children and families in the United States (pp. 77–106). Westport, CT: Praeger Press.
Barbarin,O. A., Chinn, L., & Wright, Y. F. (2014). Creating developmentally auspiciousschool
environments for African American boys. In L. S. Liben & R. S. Bigler (Vol. Eds.), The role
of gender in educational contexts and outcomes. In J. B. Benson (Series Ed.), Advances in child
development and behavior: Vol. 47 (pp. 333–365). London: Elsevier.
Basow, S., & Rubin, L. (1999). Gender influences on adolescent development.
In N. Johnson, M. C. Roberts, & J. Worrell (Eds.), Beyond appearance: A new look at ado-
lescent girls (pp. 25–52). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Beilock, S. L., Gunderson, E. A., Ramirez, G., & Levine, S. C. (2010). Female teachers’ math
anxiety affects girls’ math achievement. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the
United States of America,107, 1860–1863.
Benner, A. D., & Graham, S. (2011). Latino adolescents’ experiences of discrimination across
the first 2 years of high school: Correlates and influences on educational outcomes. Child
Development,82, 508–519.
Bhanot, R., & Jovanovic, J. (2005). Do parents’ academic gender stereotypes influence
whether they intrude on their children’s homework? Sex Roles,52, 597–607.
Bigler, R. S., Arthur, A. E., Hughes, J. M., & Patterson, M. M. (2008). The politics of race
and gender: Children’s perceptions of discrimination and the U.S. presidency. Analyses of
Social Issues and Public Policy: ASAP,8(1), 83–112.
Bigler, R. S., Hayes, A. R., & Liben, L. S. (2014). Analysis and evaluation of the rationales
for single-sex schooling. In L. S. Liben & R. S. Bigler (Vol. Eds.), The role of gender in
educational contexts and outcomes. In J. B. Benson (Series Ed.), Advances in child development
and behavior: Vol. 47 (pp. 225–260). London: Elsevier.
Bleeker, M. M., & Jacobs, J. E. (2004). Achievement in math and science: Do mothers’
beliefs matter 12 years later? Journal of Educational Psychology,96, 97–109.
Boysen, G. A. (2013). Confronting math stereotypes in the classroom: Its effect on female
college students’ sexism and perceptions of confronters. Sex Roles,69, 297–307.
Brody, G. H., Chen, Y. F., Murry, V. M., Ge, X., Simons, R. L., Gibbons, F. X., et al. (2006).
Perceived discrimination and the adjustment of African American youths: A five-year lon-
gitudinal analysis with contextual moderation effects. Child Development,77, 1170–1189.
Brown, C. S., Alabi, B. O., Huynh, V. W., & Masten, C. L. (2011). Ethnicity and gender in
late childhood and early adolescence: Group identity and awareness of bias. Developmental
Psychology,47, 463–471.
Brown, C. S., & Bigler, R. S. (2004). Children’s perceptions of gender discrimination. Devel-
opmental Psychology,40, 714–726.
Brown, C. S., & Bigler, R. S. (2005). Children’s perceptions of discrimination:
A developmental model. Child Development,76, 533–553.
Brown, C., Bigler, R. S., & Chu, H. (2010). An experimental study of the correlates and
consequences of perceiving oneself to be the target of gender discrimination. Journal
of Experimental Child Psychology,107, 100–117.
Brown, B. B., & Larson, J. (2009). Peer relationships in adolescence. In R. M. Lerner &
L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (pp. 74–103) (3rd ed.). Hoboken,
NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Brown, C. S., & Leaper, C. (2010). Latina and European American girls’ experiences with
academic sexism and their self-concepts in mathematics and science during adolescence.
Sex Roles,63, 860–870.
Chang, A., Sandhofer, C. M., & Brown, C. S. (2011). Gender biases in early number exposure
to preschool-aged children. Journal of Language and Social Psychology,30, 440–450.
Chhin, C. S., Bleeker, M. M., & Jacobs, J. E. (2008). Gender-typed occupational choices:
The long-term impact of parents’ beliefs and expectations. In Helen M. G. Watt, &
215Sexism in Schools
Jacquelynne S. Eccles (Eds.), Gender and occupational outcomes: Longitudinal assessments of
individual, social, and cultural influences (pp. 215–234). Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association.
Chiodo, D., Wolfe, D. A., Croosk, C., Hughes, R., & Jaffe, P. (2009). Impact of sexual
harassment victimization by peers on subsequent adolescent victimization and adjust-
ment: A longitudinal study. Journal of Adolescent Health,45, 246–252.
Chow, A., Eccles, J. S., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2012). Task value profiles across subjects and
aspirations to physical and IT-related sciences in the United States and Finland. Devel-
opmental Psychology,48, 1612–1628.
Cockburn, C., & Clarke, G. (2002). “Everybody’s looking at you!” Girls negotiating the
“femininity deficit” they incur in physical education. Women’s Studies International Forum,
25, 651–665.
Coker, A. L., Cook-Craig, P. G., Williams, C. M., Fisher, B. S., Clear, E. R., Garcia, L. S.,
et al. (2011). Evaluation of Green Dot: An active bystander intervention to reduce sexual
violence on college campuses. Violence Against Women,17, 777–796.
Compas, B. E., Connor-Smith, J. K., Saltzman, H., Thomsen, A. H., & Wadsworth, M. E.
(2001). Coping with stress during childhood and adolescence: Problems, progress, and
potential in theory and research. Psychological Bulletin,127, 87–127.
Conroy, D. E., Silva, J. M., Newcomer, R. R., Walker, B. W., & Johnson, M. S. (2001).
Personal and participatory socializers of the perceived legitimacy of aggressive behavior
in sport. Aggressive Behavior,27, 405–418.
Cortina, L. M., & Wasti, S. A. (2005). Profiles in coping: Responses to sexual harassment
across persons, organizations, and cultures. Journal of Applied Psychology,90, 182–192.
Crosby, F. (1984). The denial of personal discrimination. American Behavioral Scientist,27,
371–386.
Crowley, K., Callanan, M. A., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Allen, E. (2001). Parents explain more
often to boys than to girls during shared scientific thinking. Psychological Science,12,
258–261.
Cvencek, D., Meltzoff, A. N., & Greenwald, A. G. (2011). Math–gender stereotypes in ele-
mentary school children. Child Development,82, 766–779.
Czopp, A. M., Monteith, M. J., & Mark, A. Y. (2006). Standing up for a change: Reducing
bias through interpersonal confrontation. JournalofPersonalityandSocialPsychology,
90, 784.
Del Rı
´o, M. F., & Strasser, K. (2013). Preschool children’s beliefs about gender differences in
academic skills. Sex Roles,68, 231–238.
Dickha
¨user, O., & Stiensmeier-Pelster, J. (2003). Gender differences in the choice of
computer courses: Applying an expectancy-value model. Social Psychology of Education,
6, 173–189.
Diekman, A. B., & Murnen, S. K. (2004). Learning to be little women and little men:
The inequitable gender equality of nonsexist children’s literature. Sex Roles,50, 373–385.
Dill, K. E., & Thill, K. P. (2007). Video game characters and the socialization of gender roles:
Young people’s perceptions mirror sexist media depictions. Sex Roles,57, 851–864.
DuBois, D. L., Burk-Braxton, C., Swenson, L. P., Tevendale, H. D., & Hardesty, J. L.
(2002). Race and gender influences on adjustment in early adolescence: Investigation
of an integrative model. Child Development,73, 1573–1592.
Eccles, J. S., Freedman-Doan, C., Frome, P., Jacobs, J., & Yoon, K. S. (2000). Gender-role
socialization in the family: A longitudinal approach. In T. Eckes, & H. M. Trautner
(Eds.), The developmental social psychology of gender (pp. 333–360). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Eccles, J. S., & Wigfield, A. (2002). Motivational beliefs, values, and goals. Annual Review of
Psychology,53, 109–132.
Egan, S., & Perry, D. (2001). Gender identity: A multidimensional analysis with implications
for psychosocial adjustment. Developmental Psychology,37, 451–463.
216 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
Eliot, L. (2009). Pink brain, blue brain. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Else-Quest, N., Hyde, J., & Linn, M. C. (2010). Cross-national patterns of gender differences
in mathematics: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin,136, 103–127.
Eurydice Network (2010). Gender differences in educational outcomes: Study on the measures taken
and the current situation in Europe. Brussels: EACEA P9 Eurydice.
Evans, L., & Davies, K. (2000). No sissy boys here: A content analysis of the representation of
masculinity in elementary school reading textbooks. Sex Roles,42, 255–270.
Fabes, R. A., Pahlke, E., Martin, C. L., & Hanish, L. D. (2013). Gender-segregated schooling
and gender stereotyping. Educational Studies,39, 315–319.
Fennema, E., Peterson, P. L., Carpenter, T. P., & Lubinski, C. A. (1990). Teachers’ attri-
butions and beliefs about girls, boys, and mathematics. Educational Studies in Mathematics,
21, 55–69.
Fineran, S., & Bennett, L. (1999). Gender and power issues of peer sexual harassment among
teenagers. Journal of Interpersonal Violence,14, 626–641.
Fineran, S., & Bolen, R. M. (2006). Risk factors for peer sexual harassment in schools. Journal
of Interpersonal Violence,21, 1169–1190.
Forbes, G. B., Adams-Curtis, L. E., Pakalka, A. H., & White, K. B. (2006). Dating aggression,
sexual coercion, and aggression-supporting attitudes among college men as a function of
participation in aggressive high school sports. Violence Against Women,12, 441–455.
Fredricks, J. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2002). Children’s competence and value beliefs from child-
hood through adolescence: Growth trajectories in two male-sex-typed domains. Devel-
opmental Psychology,38, 519–533.
Frome, P., & Eccles, J. (1998). Parents’ influence on children’s achievement-related percep-
tions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,74, 435–452.
Fuller-Rowell, T. E., & Doan, S. N. (2010). The social costs of academic success across eth-
nic groups. Child Development,81, 1696–1713.
Garrahy, D. A. (2001). Three third-grade teachers’ gender-related beliefs and behavior. The
Elementary School Journal,102, 81–94.
Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (1996). The ambivalent sexism inventory: Differentiating hostile and
benevolent sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,70, 491.
Greene, M. L., Way, N., & Pahl, K. (2006). Trajectories of perceived adult and peer discrim-
ination among Black, Latino, and Asian American adolescents: Patterns and psycholog-
ical correlates. Developmental Psychology,42, 218.
Greenwald, A. G., Banaji, M. R., Rudman, L. A., Farnham, S. D., Nosek, B. A., &
Mellott, D. S. (2002). A unified theory of implicit attitudes, stereotypes, self-esteem,
and self-concept. Psychological Review,109, 3–25.
Gunderson, E. A., Ramirez, G., Levine, S. C., & Beilock, S. L. (2012). The role of parents
and teachers in the development of gender-related math attitudes. Sex Roles,66,
153–166.
Gurian, M. (2001). Boys and girls learn differently!. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Halim, M. L., & Ruble, D. (2010). Gender identity and stereotyping in early and middle
childhood. In J. C. Chrisler, & D. R. McCreary (Eds.), Handbook of gender research in psy-
chology (pp. 495–525). New York: Springer.
Halpern, D. F., Eliot, L., Bigler, R. S., Fabes, R. A., Hanish, L. D., Hyde, J., et al. (2011).
The pseudoscience of single-sex schooling. Science,333(6050), 1706–1707.
Hamilton, M. C., Anderson, D., Broaddus, M., & Young, K. (2006). Gender stereotyping
and under-representation of female characters in 200 popular children’s picture books:
A twenty-first century update. Sex Roles,55, 757–765.
Harris Interactive (2001). Hostile hallways: Bullying, teasing, and sexual harassment in school.
Washington, DC: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation.
Hartley, B. L., & Sutton, R. M. (2013). A stereotype threat account of boys’ academic under-
achievement. Child Development,84, 1716–1733.
217Sexism in Schools
Helwig, R., Anderson, L., & Tindal, G. (2001). Influence of elementary student gender on
teachers’ perceptions of mathematics achievement. The Journal of Educational Research,95,
93–102.
Herbert, J., & Stipek, D. (2005). The emergence of gender differences in children’s perceptions
of their academic competence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology,26, 276–295.
Hill, C., Corbett, C., & St. Rose, A. (2010). Why so few? Women in science, technology, engi-
neering, and mathematics. Washington, DC: AAUW.
Holahan, C. J., Valentiner, D. P., & Moos, R. H. (1995). Parental support, coping strategies,
and psychological adjustment: An integrative model with late adolescents. Journal of Youth
and Adolescence,24, 633–648.
Horn, S. S. (2008). The multifaceted nature of sexual prejudice: How adolescents reason
about sexual orientation and sexual prejudice. In S. R. Levi & M. Killen (Eds.), Intergroup
attitudes and relations in childhood through adulthood (pp. 173–188). New York, NY: Oxford
University Press.
Hurtado, A. (2003). Voicing Chicana feminisms: Young women speak out on sexuality and identity.
New York: New York University Press.
Jackson, C. D., & Leffingwell, R. J. (1999). The role of instructions in creating math anxiety
in students from kindergarten through college. The Mathematics Teacher,92, 583–586.
Jacobs, J. E., Chhin, C. S., & Shaver, K. (2005). Longitudinal links between perceptions of
adolescence and the social beliefs of adolescents: Are parents’ stereotypes related to beliefs
held about and by their children? Journal of Youth and Adolescence,34, 61–72.
Jewell, J. A., & Brown, C. S. (2013). Sexting, catcalls, and butt slaps: How gender stereotypes
and perceived group norms predict sexualized behavior. Sex Roles,69, 594–604.
Jewell, J. A., & Brown, C. S. (2014). Relations among gender typicality, peer relations, and
mental health during early adolescence. Social Development,23, 137–156.
Jones, S., & Myhill, D. (2004). ‘Troublesome boys’ and ‘compliant girls’: Gender identity and
perceptions of achievement and underachievement. British Journal of Sociology of Educa-
tion,25, 547–561.
Jussim, L., & Harber, K. D. (2005). Teacher expectations and self-fulfilling prophecies:
Knowns and unknowns, resolved and unresolved controversies. Personality and Social Psy-
chology Review,9, 131–155.
Kaiser, C. R., & Miller, C. T. (2004). A stress and coping perspective on confronting abstract
sexism. Psychology of Women Quarterly,28, 168–178.
Kane, E. (2000). Racial and ethnic variations in gender-related attitudes. Annual Review of
Sociology,26, 419–439.
Keller, C. (2001). Effect of teachers’ stereotyping on students’ stereotyping of mathematics as
a male domain. The Journal of Social Psychology,141, 165–173.
Kessels, U. (2005). Fitting into the stereotype: How gender-stereotyped perceptions of pro-
totypic peers relate to liking for school subjects. European Journal of Psychology of Education,
20, 309–323.
Kessels, U., & Steinmayr, R. (2013). Macho-man in school: Toward the role of gender role
self-concepts and help seeking in school performance. Learning and Educational Differences,
23, 234–240.
Kiefer, S. M., & Ryan, A. M. (2008). Striving for social dominance over peers: The impli-
cations for academic adjustment during early adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychol-
ogy,100, 417–428.
Klein, S., & Sesma, E. (2011). What are we learning from the 2006–7 Office for Civil Rights Survey
question about public schools with single-sex academic classes? An exploratory study. Arlington,
VA: Feminist Majority Foundation.
Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Diaz, E. M., & Bartkiewicz, M. J. (2010). The 2009 national
school climate survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in our
nation’s schools. New York, NY: GLSEN.
218 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
Krendl, A. C., Richeson, J. A., Kelley, W. M., & Heatherton, T. F. (2008). The negative
consequences of threat: A functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation of the
neural mechanisms underlying women’s underperformance in math. Psychological Science,
19, 168–175.
Lacasse, A., Purdy, K. T., & Mendelson, M. J. (2003). The mixed company they keep:
Potentially offensive sexual behaviors among adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral
Development,27, 532–540.
Lamb, L. M., Bigler, R. S., Liben, L. S., & Green, V. A. (2009). Teaching children to con-
front peers’ sexist remarks: Implications for theories of gender development and educa-
tional practice. Sex Roles,61, 361–382.
Lane, K. A. (2012). Being narrow while being broad: The importance of construct specificity
and theoretical generality. Sex Roles,66, 167–174.
Lavy, V. (2008). Do gender stereotypes reduce girls’ or boys’ human capital outcomes? Evi-
dence from a natural experiment. Journal of Public Economics,92, 2083–2105.
Lazarus, R. S. (1999). Stress and emotion: A new synthesis. New York: Springer.
Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.
Leaper, C. (2013). Gender development during childhood. In P. D. Zelazo (Ed.), Oxford
handbook of developmental psychology: Vol. 2 (pp. 327–377). New York: Oxford
University Press.
Leaper, C., & Arias, D. M. (2011). College women’s feminist identity: A multidimensional
analysis with implications for coping with sexism. Sex Roles,64, 475–490.
Leaper, C., & Brown, C. S. (2008). Perceived experiences with sexism among adolescent
girls. Child Development,79, 685–704.
Leaper, C., Brown, C. S., & Ayres, M. M. (2013). Adolescent girls’ cognitive appraisals of
coping responses to sexual harassment. Psychology in the Schools,50, 969–986.
Leaper, C., & Robnett, R. D. (2011). Sexism. In J. R. Levesque (Ed.), Encyclopedia of ado-
lescence (pp. 2641–2648). New York: Springer.
Lee, J. S., & Bowen, N. K. (2006). Parent involvement, cultural capital, and the achievement
gap among elementary school children. American Educational Research Journal,43,
193–218.
Lee, E., & Troop-Gordon, W. (2011). Peer processes and gender role development: Changes
in gender atypicality related to negative peer treatment and children’s friendships. Sex
Roles,64, 90–102.
Legewie, J., & DiPrete, T. A. (2012). School context and the gender gap in educational
achievement. American Sociological Review,77, 463–485.
Li, Q. (1999). Teachers’ beliefs and gender differences in mathematics: A review. Educational
Research,41, 63–76.
Liben, L. S., Bigler, R. S., & Krogh, H. R. (2001). Pink and blue collar jobs: Children’s judg-
ments of job status and job aspirations in relation to sex of worker. Journal of Experimental
Child Psychology,79, 346–363.
Lindberg, S. M., Grabe, S., & Hyde, J. S. (2007). Gender, pubertal development, and peer
sexual harassment predict objectified body consciousness in early adolescence. Journal of
Research on Adolescence,17, 723–742.
Lindberg, S. M., Hyde, J. S., Petersen, J. L., & Linn, M. C. (2010). New trends in
gender and mathematics performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin,136,
1123–1135.
Lobel, T. E., Bempechat, J., Gewirtz, J. C., Shoken-Topaz, T., & Bashe, E. (1993). The role
of gender-related information and self-endorsement of traits in preadolescents’ inferences
and judgments. Child Development,64, 1285–1294.
Losen, D. J. (2011). Discipline policies, successful schools, and racial justice. Boulder, CO: National
Education Policy Center. Retrieved from http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/
discipline-policies.
219Sexism in Schools
Magley, V. J. (2002). Coping with sexual harassment: Reconceptualizing women’s resis-
tance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,83, 930–946.
Manago, A., Brown, C., & Leaper, C. (2009). Feminist identity among Latina adolescents.
Journal of Adolescent Research,24, 750–776.
Martin, C. L., Fabes, R. A., & Hanish, L. D. (2014). Gendered-peer relationships in educa-
tional contexts. In L. S. Liben & R. S. Bigler (Vol. Eds.), The role of gender in educational
contexts and outcomes. In J. B. Benson (Series Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior:
Vol. 47 (pp. 151–187). London: Elsevier.
McGraw, R., Lubienski, S. T., & Strutchens, M. E. (2006). A closer look at gender in NAEP
mathematics achievement and affect data: Intersections with achievement, race/
ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Journal for Researchin MathematicsEducation,37,129–1 50.
Mercier, E. M., Barron, B., & O’Connor, K. M. (2006). Images of self and others as computer
users: The role of gender and experience. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning,22, 335–348.
Messner, M. A. (1998). Boyhood, organized sports, and the construction of masculinities.
In M. A. Messner (Ed.), Men’s lives (pp. 109–121). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Miller, C. T., & Major, B. (2000). Coping with stigma and prejudice. In T. F. Heatherton,
R. E. Kleck, M. R. Hebl, & J. G. Hull (Eds.), The social psychology of stigma (pp. 243–272).
New York: Guilford.
Moradi, B., & Funderburk, J. R. (2006). Roles of perceived sexist events and perceived social
support in the mental health of women seeking counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychol-
ogy,53, 464–473.
Muzzatti, B., & Agnoli, F. (2007). Gender and mathematics: Attitudes and stereotype threat
susceptibility in Italian children. Developmental Psychology,43, 747–759.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). The condition of education. Washington, DC:
U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.
National Science Foundation (2013). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science
and engineering. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation. Retrieved from
http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/.
Neff, K. D., Cooper, C. E., & Woodruff, A. L. (2007). Children’s and adolescents’ devel-
oping perceptions of gender inequality. Social Development,16, 682–699.
Nosek, B. A., Smyth, F. L., Sriram, N., Lindner, N. M., Devos, T., Ayala, A., et al. (2009).
National differences in gender–science stereotypes predict national sex differences in sci-
ence and math achievement. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United
States of America,106, 10593–10597.
OECD (2013). Education at a glance 2013: OECD indicators. Author: OECD Publishing.
Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-2013-en.
O’Moore, A., & Minton, S. (2005). Evaluation of the effectiveness of an anti-bullying pro-
gramme in primary schools. Aggressive Behavior,31, 609–622.
Ormerod, A. J., Collinsworth, L. L., & Perry, L. A. (2008). Critical climate: Relations among
sexual harassment, climate, and outcomes for high school girls and boys. Psychology of
Women Quarterly,32, 113–125.
Pahlke, E., Bigler, R. S., & Green, V. A. (2010). Effects of learning about historical gender
discrimination on early adolescents’ occupational judgments and aspirations. The Journal
of Early Adolescence,30(6), 854–894.
Pahlke, E., Bigler, R. S., & Martin, C. L. (2014). Can fostering children’s ability to challenge
sexism improve critical analysis, internalization, and enactment of inclusive, egalitarian
peer relationships? Journal of Social Issues,70, 113–131.
Pahlke, E., Hyde, J. S., & Allison, C. M. (2014). The effects of single-sex compared to coed-
ucational schooling on students’ performance and attitudes: A meta-analyses. Psychological
Bulletin. Advance online publication http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0035740.
Pascoe, C. J. (2007). Dude, you’re a fag: Masculinity and sexuality in high school. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
220 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
Pepler, D. J., Craig, W. M., Connolly, J. A., Yuile, A., McMaster, L., & Jiang, D. (2006).
A developmental perspective on bullying. Aggressive Behavior,32, 376–384.
Petersen, J. L., & Hyde, J. S. (2009). A longitudinal investigation of peer sexual harassment
victimization in adolescence. Journal of Adolescence,32, 1173–1188.
Petersen, J., & Hyde, J. S. (2014). Gender-related academic and occupational interests and
goals. In L. S. Liben & R. S. Bigler (Vol. Eds.), The role of gender in educational contexts
and outcomes. In J. B. Benson (Series Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior:
Vol. 47 (pp. 43–76). London: Elsevier.
Picho, K., Rodriguez, A., & Finnie, L. (2013). Exploring the moderating role of context on
the mathematics performance of females under stereotype threat: A meta-analysis. Journal
of Social Psychology,153, 299–333.
Plante, I., The
´ore
ˆt, M., & Favreau, O. E. (2009). Student gender stereotypes: Contrasting the
perceived maleness and femaleness of mathematics and language. Educational Psychology,
29, 385–405.
Pornpitakpan, C. (2004). The persuasiveness of source credibility: A critical review of five
decades’ evidence. Journal of Applied Social Psychology,34, 243–281.
Poteat, V. P., Scheer, J. R., & Mereish, E. H. (2014). Factors affecting academic achievement
among sexual minority and gender-variant youth. In L. S. Liben & R. S. Bigler (Vol. Eds.),
The role of gender in educational contexts and outcomes. In J. B. Benson (Series Ed.), Advances in
child development and behavior: Vol. 47 (pp. 261–300). London: Elsevier.
Quinn, K. A., Roese, N. J., Pennington, G. L., & Olson, J. M. (1999). The personal/group
discrimination discrepancy: The role of informational complexity. Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin,25, 1430–1440.
Rao, A., & Seaton, M. (2009). The way of boys. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Rasinski, H. M., & Czopp, A. M. (2010). The effect of target status on witnesses’ reactions to
confrontations of bias. Basic and Applied Social Psychology,32, 8–16.
Riegle-Crumb, C., Farkas, G., & Muller, C. (2006). The role of gender and friendship in
advanced course taking. Sociology of Education,79, 1017–1045.
Rose, A. J., Glick, G. C., & Smith, R. L. (2011). Popularity and gender: The two cultures of
boys and girls. In A. H. N. Cillessen, D. Schwartz, & L. Mayeux (Eds.), Popularity in the
peer system (pp. 79–102). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Rowley, S. J., Kutz-Costes, B., Mistry, R., & Feagans, L. (2007). Social status and a predictor
of race and gender stereotypes in late childhood and early adolescence. Social Development,
16, 150–168.
Rowley, S. J., Ross, L., Lozada,F., Williams,A., Gale, A., & Kurtz-Costes, B. (2014). Framing
black boys: Parent, teacher, and student narratives of the academic lives of black boys. In
L. S. Liben & R. S. Bigler (Vol. Eds.), The role of gender in educational contexts and outcomes.
In J. B. Benson (Series Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior: Vol. 47 (pp. 301–
332). London: Elsevier.
Russell, S., Kosciw, J., Horn, S., & Saewyc, E. (2010). Safe schools policy for LGBTQ stu-
dents. Social Policy Report,24, 1–25.
Sa
´inz, M., Pa
´lmen, R., & Garcı
´a-Cuesta, S. (2012). Parental and secondary school teachers’
perceptions of ICT professionals, gender differences and their role in the choice of stud-
ies. Sex Roles,66, 235–249.
Salmivalli, C., Kaukiainen, A., & Voeten, M. (2005). Anti-bullying intervention: Implemen-
tation and outcome. British Journal of Educational Psychology,75, 465–487.
Salomone, R. C. (2006). Single-sex programs: Resolving the research conundrum. Teachers
College Record,108, 778–802.
Santos, C. E., Galligan, K., Pahlke, E., & Fabes, R. A. (2013). American Journal of Orthopsy-
chiatry,83, 252–264.
Sax, L. (2005). Why gender matters: What parents and teachers need to know about the emerging
science of sex differences. New York, NY: Doubleday.
221Sexism in Schools
Schmalz, D. L., Kerstetter, D. L., & Anderson, D. M. (2008). Stigma consciousness as a pre-
dictor of children’s participation in recreational vs. competitive sports. Journal of Sport
Behavior,31, 276–297.
Shakib, S. (2003). Female basketball participation. American Behavioral Scientist,46,
1405–1422.
Shakib, S., Veliz, P., Dunbar, M. D., & Sabo, D. (2011). Athletics as a source for social status
among youth: Examining variation by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
Sociology of Sport Journal,28, 303–328.
Shapiro, J. R., & Williams, A. M. (2012). The role of stereotype threats in undermining girls’
and women’s performance and interest in STEM fields. Sex Roles,66, 175–183.
Sherriff, N. (2007). Peer group cultures and social identity: An integrated approach to under-
standing masculinities. British Educational Research Journal,33, 349–370.
Signorella, M. L., Hayes, A. R., & Li, Y. (2013). A meta-analytic critique of Mael et al.’s
(2005) review of single-sex schooling. Sex Roles,69, 423–441.
Signorielli, N. (2012). Television’s gender-role images and contribution to stereotyping:
Past, present and future. In D. G. Singer & J. L. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of children
and the media (pp. 321–339) (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Simpkins, S. D., Davis-Kean, P., & Eccles, J. S. (2005). Parents’ socializing behavior and chil-
dren’s participation in math, science, and computer out-of-school activities. Applied
Developmental Science,9, 14–30.
Skelton, C. C., Carrington, B. B., Francis, B. B., Hutchings, M. M., Read, B. B., & Hall, I. I.
(2009). Gender ‘matters’ in the primary classroom: Pupils’ and teachers’ perspectives.
British Educational Research Journal,35, 187–204.
Smith, T. E., & Leaper, C. (2006). Self-perceived gender typicality and the peer context dur-
ing adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence,16, 91–103.
Solmon, M. A. (2014). Physical education, sports, and gender in schools. In L. S. Liben &
R. S. Bigler (Vol. Eds.), The role of gender in educational contexts and outcomes.InJ.B.Benson
(Series Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior: Vol. 47 (pp. 117–150). London: Elsevier.
Steffens, M. C., & Jelenec, P. (2011). Separating implicit gender stereotypes regarding math
and language: Implicit ability stereotypes are self-serving for boys and men, but not for
girls and women. Sex Roles,64, 324–335.
Steffens, M. C., Jelenec, P., & Noack, P. (2010). On the leaky math pipeline: Comparing
implicit math-gender stereotypes and math withdrawal in female and male children
and adolescents. Journal of Educational Psychology,102, 947–963.
Stewart, A., & McDermott, C. (2004). Gender in psychology. Annual Review of Psychology,
55, 519–544.
Swim, J. K., & Thomas, M. A. (2006). Responding to everyday discrimination: A synthesis
of research on goal-directed, self-regulatory coping behaviors. In S. Levin, & C. VanLaar
(Eds.), Stigma and group inequality: Social psychological perspectives (pp. 105–126). Mahwah,
NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Taylor, D. M., Wright, S. C., Moghaddam, F. M., & Lalonde, R. N. (1990). The personal/
group discrimination discrepancy: Perceiving my group, but not myself, to be a target for
discrimination. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,16, 254–262.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Leaper, C. (2003). Parent-child conversations about science: The
socialization of gender inequities? Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology,26,
1–19.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Snow, C. E., Roach, K. A., & Kurland, B. (2005). Talking and reading
science: Longitudinal data on sex differences in mother-child conversations in low-
income families. Developmental Psychology,39, 34–47.
Tiedemann, J. (2000). Parents’ gender stereotypes and teachers’ beliefs as predictors of chil-
dren’s concept of their mathematical ability in elementary school. Journal of Educational
Psychology,92, 144–151.
222 Campbell Leaper and Christia Spears Brown
Timmerman, G. (2005). A comparison between girls’ and boys’ experiences of unwanted
sexual behaviour in secondary schools. Educational Research,47, 291–306.
TIMSS International Study Center. (2000). TIMSS physics achievement comparison study.
Boston, MA: Author.
Turner, K. L., & Brown, C. S. (2007). The centrality of gender and ethnic identities across
individuals and contexts. Social Development,16, 700–719.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development,
Policy and Program Studies Service. (2005). Single-sex versus secondary schooling:
A systematic review. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Uman
˜a-Taylor, A. J., & Updegraff, K. A. (2007). Latino adolescents’ mental health: Explor-
ing the interrelations among discrimination, ethnic identity, cultural orientation, self-
esteem, and depressive symptoms. Journal of Adolescence,30, 549–567.
UNESCO. (2010). Global education Digest 2010: Comparing education statistics across the world.
Montreal, Quebec: Author.
Van de Gaer, E., Pustjens, H., Van Damme, J., & De Munter, A. (2006). The gender gap in
language achievement: The role of school-related attitudes of class groups. Sex Roles,55,
397–408.
Vekiri, I., & Chronaki, A. (2008). Gender issues in technology use: Perceived social support,
computer self-efficacy and value beliefs, and computer use beyond school. Computers &
Education,51, 1392–1404.
Wei, H., & Chen, J. (2012). Factors associated with peer sexual harassment victimization
among Taiwanese adolescents. Sex Roles,66, 66–78.
Weil, E. (2008, March 2). Teaching boys and girls separately. New York Times Magazine.
Weisgram, E. S., & Bigler, R. S. (2007). Effects of learning about gender discrimination on
adolescent girls’ attitudes toward and interest in science. Psychology of Women Quarterly,
31, 262–269.
Whiston, S. C., & Keller, B. K. (2004). The influences of the family of origin on career devel-
opment: A review and analysis. The Counseling Psychologist,32, 493–568.
Whitmire, R. (2010). Why boys fail: Saving our sons from an educational system that’s leaving them
behind. New York, NY: AMACOM.
Williams, T., Connolly, J., Pepler, D., & Craig, W. (2005). Peer victimization, social sup-
port, and psychosocial adjustment of sexual minority adolescents. Journal of Youth and
Adolescence,34(5), 471–482.
Women’s Sports Foundation. (2009). Women’s sports and fitness facts and statistics. Retrieved
from http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/home/research/.
Wood, D., Kaplan, R., & McLoyd, V. C. (2007). Gender differences in the educational
expectations of urban, low-income African American youth: The role of parents and
the school. Journal of Youth and Adolescence,36, 417–427.
Yee, D. K., & Eccles, J. S. (1988). Parent perceptions and attributions for children’s math
achievement. Sex Roles,19, 317–333.
Young, R., & Sweeting, H. (2004). Adolescent bullying, relationships, psychological well-
being, and gender-atypical behavior: A gender diagnosticity approach. Sex Roles,50,
525–537.
Zakaria, F. (2011). The post-American world: Release 2.0. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
223Sexism in Schools
... [...] In contrast, benevolent sexism includes protective paternalism (i.e., belief that men must protect women) and complementary gender differentiation (i.e., belief that women and men are different and complement one another)." (Leaper & Brown 2014). ...
Article
The current study aimed to investigate two points among junior and senior-level high school students. First is to examine the mediating role of the perception of traditionalist gender roles in career choice on the association between egalitarian gender perception and STEM-related career preference. Second is to explore differences between gender groups (female vs. male) and school types (Anatolian high school, religious vocational high school, vocational high school, and science high school) in terms of variables and the outcome. A hundred and sixty-four students (76 females, 46.3%; 88 males, 53.7%) between the ages of 15-20 (M = 17, SD = .789) participated in the study. They responded to demographic information form, gender perception scale, and gender roles in career choice scale. Simple mediation analyses showed the mediating role of the perception of traditionalist gender roles in career choice (β = .144, 95% CI [.001, .286], SE = .073, z = 1.971, p = .048), as we hypothesized. Exploratory analyses revealed that students in Anatolian high school and science high school more preferred egalitarian gender roles, and less preferred traditionalist gender roles in career choice than those in other types of school. Also, students in science high school more preferred STEM-related professions. Moreover, female students preferred STEM-related professions more than male students. We discussed the findings in the context of social psychology.
Article
Full-text available
Empirical evidence for the effectiveness of interventions teaching lay people how to recognize sexism is scarce. The purpose of the present study was, thus, twofold: The first aim was to evaluate a brief intervention using a lecture-like educational video on how to recognize subtle sexism. The second aim was to demonstrate the usefulness of signal detection theory (SDT) for evaluating the participants’ ability to discriminate between subtle sexist and non-sexist statements. Participants (N = 73) were randomly assigned to a subtle sexism treatment group (SSG), an overt sexism treatment group (OSG), or a control group (CG). After the intervention phase, the participants were asked to rate statements in vignettes with respect to how sexist they perceived them to be. The participants in the SSG were significantly better in correctly identifying subtle sexist content than the participants in the OSG and CG. However, they were not more accurate overall. This was because they claimed sexism more often, irrespective of whether it was present or not. We conclude that while our intervention increased participants’ sensitivity in detecting sexist content, it did so at the cost of specificity. Our results make clear that practitioners teaching people how to recognize sexism should control intervention outcomes for unintended effects of biased decision criteria, given that erroneous allegations of sexism could have grave consequences. To this effect, the value of SDT, which allows for fine-grained and, consequently, more accurate insight than standard approaches to the analysis of intervention effects, was demonstrated.
Article
The current study explored the relationships between three components of gender identity, peer support, math anxiety, and math outcomes in a sample of middle school students (N = 295). Separate path analyses were conducted for girls and boys. For boys, gender contentedness was related to higher math grades through a reduction in evaluation math anxiety. For girls, felt pressure was related to a reduction in self reported math grades through an increase in learning math anxiety. In addition, peer support in math was associated with lower learning math anxiety and higher math grades for girls, whereas peer support in math was not associated with math anxiety or math outcomes for boys. Implications for future research and education interventions are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
The underrepresentation of young people and particularly young women in many STEM fields has inspired various intervention programmes and research intended to boost their interest in these areas. The purpose of this scoping review is to examine the characteristics and effectiveness of interventions designed to encourage interest in STEM among secondary school students, particularly female students, over the past 20 years. A systematic search of the literature in five databases and additional search strategies resulted in identifying 215 studies evaluating interventions in different disciplinary fields. Data extraction and synthesis of these studies were carried out, focusing on the methodologies and theoretical foundations used. Twenty-five exemplars were selected to illustrate best practices in designing and evaluating interventions that address the various facets of young people’s lack of interest in STEM. These interventions attempt to modify and/or manipulate multiple environmental and school factors to impact students’ personal factors associated with STEM interest, such as achievement, self-perception of ability, and self-efficacy. Implications for the design of future interventions and potential outcomes are then discussed.
Article
The fight against sexism is nowadays one of the flagship social movements in western countries. Adolescence is a crucial period, and some empirical studies have focused on the socialization of teenagers, proving that the socialization with the surrounding environment prevent sexist practices. In a previous work, we developed and tested the effectiveness of a mobile app, called Liad@s , with the goals of helping teenagers to prevent sexism and build healthy couple relationships. In this article, we carry out a study where (using a real situation) we compare the effectiveness of the Liad@s app in front of traditional interventions like a workshop about sexism for teenagers. Also, we evaluate the usability of the app and the user satisfaction with this application. In this study, our primary hypothesis is that the effectiveness of using our mobile application, in terms of knowledge acquired about sexism, would be at least as good as attending the workshop. Our secondary hypothesis is that the user satisfaction with the mobile application would be higher than the one with the workshop, causing a preference for the app. The results of this study show significant differences in learning appeared between gender and between the two different procedures when separately evaluating the data collected from both hostile sexism (HS) and benevolent sexism (BS) questionnaires. These results validate our primary hypothesis. Also, most of the population under study preferred the mobile app in front of the traditional workshop, validating also our secondary hypothesis.
Article
We draw from ecological systems and social psychological theories to elucidate macrosystem- and microsystem-level variables that promote and maintain gender inequities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Because gender-STEM stereotypes undermine girls’ (and women's), but boosts boys’ (and men's), STEM interest and success, we review how they operate in STEM learning environments to differentially socialize girls and boys and undermine gender integroup relations. We propose seven practice recommendations to improve STEM K-12 education: (1) design relational classrooms, (2) teach the history of gender inequality and bias, (3) foster collaborative and cooperative classrooms, (4) promote active learning and growth mindset strategies, (5) reframing STEM as inclusive, (6) create near-peer mentorship programs, and (7) re-imagine evaluation metrics. To support these practice recommendations, three policy recommendations are posited: (1) increase teacher autonomy, training, and representation, (2) re-evaluate standardized testing, and (3) reallocate and increase government funding for public schools.
Article
Although all children attending school in France receive an education that is considered identical, numerous studies have shown significant differences between girls and boys in terms of academic success, length of study, choice of career path and level of qualifications. In this perspective, the aim of this study is to evaluate whether the subjective value given to school subjects still corresponds to gender stereotypes in French elementary school in 2020. Two studies were carried out: one with six years-old pupils and the other with elementary school teachers. The results reveal a clear conclusion: the perception of school subjects is consistent with gender stereotypes and, compared to a study conducted in 2005, no significant change has been observed.
Chapter
In diesem Kapitel diskutieren wir vor allem die folgenden beiden Fragen: Wie ähnlich oder unterschiedlich sind Mädchen und Jungen in Bezug auf bestimmte psychologische Variablen? Und was könnte Unterschieden zwischen ihnen zugrunde liegen? Nach einer eingehenderen Beschäftigung mit den Begriffen „Geschlecht“ und „Gender“ betrachten wir zunächst die physiologischen, kognitiv-motivationalen und kulturellen Einflüsse, die zur Geschlechterentwicklung beitragen können. Dann skizzieren wir die wichtigsten Meilensteine der Entwicklung von Geschlechterstereotypen und des geschlechtsstereotypen Verhaltens in der Kindesentwicklung. Anschließend vergleichen wir, was man derzeit über die Ähnlichkeiten und Unterschiede von Jungen und Mädchen in bestimmten Entwicklungsbereichen weiß: insbesondere zur körperlichen Entwicklung, zum Erwerb kognitiver und sozialer Fähigkeiten und zur Persönlichkeitsentwicklung.
Article
Full-text available
Two proposed U.S. federal laws would provide explicit protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) students in public schools. These federal laws follow actions by many states and school districts to define and implement laws or policies to protect the safety of LGBTQ students in schools. Research during the past decade has shown that LGBTQ youth are a vulnerable population, and that the negative school experiences of LGBTQ students often contribute to their vulnerability. This Social Policy Report reviews research relevant to these federal, state, and local laws and policies. Research on sexual orientation/identity development is reviewed, with attention to the growing numbers of youth that “come out” or disclose their LGBTQ identities to others during their school‐age years. Schools are often hostile environments for LGBTQ students; this evidence is considered along with research on the consequences for compromised achievement and emotional and behavioral health. We then review strategies in education policy and practice that are associated with well‐being for LGBTQ (and all) students.
Article
This study explored the underlying structure of women's coping with sexual harassment from a rational-empirical approach. On the basis of multidimensional scaling, clustering, and confirmatory factor analysis across 8 data sets, 4 clusters of coping behaviors emerged, with little variance across the data sets. These clusters bear resemblance to Moos and colleagues' (C. J. Holahan, R. H. Moos, & J. A. Schaefer, 1996; R. Moos, 1992; R. H. Moos & J. A. Schaefer, 1993) distinction between coping strategies that differ in both method and foci. The four clusters that emerged are behavioral engagement, behavioral disengagement, cognitive engagement, and cognitive disengagement. This framework provides insight into the complex forms that women's coping with sexual harassment takes and has important legal implications.