What Roles does gender play in today's schools, mass media and educational systems?
Critically, one will define gender as being male or female. What of the transgender? A child can be born male but begin exhibiting feminine characters. Such a child cannot be called male but female. No matter how hard the society may ridicule such a child, "she" will not start acting otherwise. Marry Holmes (2007) has defined gender as socially produced differences between being feminine and being masculine.John Stuart (1869) defines gender in a similar manner. But according to him, gender refers to the social, cultural, and physiological components. He goes further defining that sex is what we are born with, but gender is an achieved status because it must be learned. On the other hand, she has defined sex as the biological differences between males and females. A tutor, Erin Long-Crowell has speculated Agents socialization as family, schools, peers and media.
According to Stuart, a role is the expected behavior associated with a status. They can be performed according to social norms, shared rules that guide people's behavior in specific situations. The roles of a father can be associated with being a breadwinner, disciplinary, ultimate decision maker, and home technology expert. On the other hand the hand the status of the mother calls for roles involving love, nurturing, self-sacrifice, home-making, and availability. Many societies view all women in a similar manner. This has led to differences in roles of gender in schools, media and educational systems. But today, what a man can do, a woman can do better.
Schools and Educational systems
Ammot and Matthaei (1991) argue that gender, like race, is as much a social as a biological category: Gender differences in the social lives of men and women are based on, but not the same thing, as biological differences between the same sexes. People in our societies hold the view that sexes are different and distinct. The similar view is portrayed in most of our schools. Girls and boys are assigned extracurricular unequal work and leadership roles.
Gender plays a major role in the disciplinary characterfemales and males in schools and their general behavior. Since gender is adopted over time, some learners have developed feminism or masculine gender due to peer influence. The performance of males and females tends to differ. In her book, Susan Dumais (2007) describes gender as playing a role in success of the learner.In general, her studies indicate that the habitus of males and females matters a lot to their success. It means that the society a girl or boy lives in will determine their success in school. For instance, a community were the girl child is highly discriminated will affect their outright performance in school. In terms of gender, feminists are viewed differently and tend to be discriminated by their male peers in school.
In his study, Joanne (1998) argues that gender contributes to smoking initiation in youth. The masculine will tend to copy smoking, drug abuse, and alcoholism from adults in the society. The males develop masculine gender as a result of such things. If there are strikes in school the males get involved much than the girls. The females will acquire behaviors of fear and develop a subjective nature in schools. Girls that smoke may be influenced by the fact that they are females but develop a masculine gender.
Not much attention has been given to girls in most educational systems. They speculate that girls and boys face similar experiences in schools. But the report given by the AAUW, 1998 & 2008, indicated that girls have fallen below their male classmates in terms of grades and self-esteem.Girls also do not generally perform better than the boys in mathematics and sciences. The placement higher-education in many educational systems records higher in-takes of girls compared to the girls. The cut-off points are also set in such a way that they favor the girl child than the boy child. Girls will tend to take simpler courses while boys go for the hard courses.
In all these, it's clear that gender does play a role in schools. Let's say it's a "gateway". In thatcase, females will have it their own and males their own way. Some girls have tried to develop gender in schools by trying to beat the male. In a mixed school, males and females realize their differences biologically and physically.
Media plays a major role in the society. They report on current events, provide frameworks for interpretation, mobilize citizens with regard to various issues, reproduce predominant culture and society, and entertain. (Lianos & Nina, 2011). Erin argues many parents fear what influences the media is impacting on their children. All the genres of media play a vital role in socialization: apart from media promoting many good things through education and entertainment, it's causing a new discovery among the children as they copy the behavior of their favorite media stereotypes.
Wolska (2011) suggested that one of the most important schemes for orientation in social environment is the stereotypes, representing the opinions among members of a certain group about the other groups. He goes further in saying that stereotypes present incomplete, subjective and sometimes false image of reality.
The roles of gender in the media have influenced the change of spirit of many women. The education programs that call upon women to stop seeing themselves as inferiors have changed the thinking of many women on gender roles. However, studies have found disparity. White (2009) found out that even though the number of women in the media is increasing very fast, the high positions are still usually held by the males.
In a research conducted by Hanitzsch & Hanusch (2002), they found out that gender doesn't determine the professional views. Females worked as hard as the males in the media rooms. This research impacts positively on the girls as they will develop a feminine gender and be proud of themselves. But programs in the media have presented women in a different view.
Women are more often presented in commercials, because they are often seen as responsible for making everyday purchases, Men generally advertise cars, cigarettes, business products or investments, whereas women are shown rather in cosmetics and domestic products. They are also more likely portrayed in the home environment, unlike men, who are shown outdoors. Another important distinction is the face-ism phenomenon in the commercials, which consists in the entire figure in case of women and close-up shots in case of men. (Mathew, J.L 2007).
The confusion of the difference between sex and gender still exists. Gender plays a vital role in establishing the behavior of persons in their societies. Though we are living in a new century and millennium, women still face discrimination. This is very visible in our schools and education systems. The media on the other hand is educating people on the issues of gender is trying to bring the disparity to an end.