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The Case For

Girls’
Schools
The Case for Girls’ Schools

Social responsibility and


regard for the common good
demand that decision makers,
researchers, product developers, Small causes
manufacturers, brand houses,
advertisers, and media outlets have the power
to effect radical
realize that the contributions
that they produce have a
cumulative impact that affects
far more than sales. change

“One thing leads to another.”


The Fixx

Serious Play for Serious Girls 3


The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Girls in single-sex schools perform


better than girls in co-ed schools,
regardless of socio-economic and
ability levels.”1

1 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “The Benefits of Attending a Girls’ School - Section 3”
http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/3-girlsfirstforemost/

4 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 5
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

By kindergarten, children have already identified and


internalized the culturally sanctioned gender and eth-
nic stereotypes that are expected of them. Stereotypic
prejudices such as “boys are better at math” have the
power to supersede a girl’s understanding of her own
capability which can cause her to depress her individ-
ual performance so she can conform to her expected
“role”.2

By age 11, girls begin to perceive the cultural pressure


to conform to stereotyped subordinate gender roles
that emphasize the importance of appearing physi-
cally attractive to men. This pressure to conform to
sexual roles is a major cause of girls’ sharp drop in
self-confidence at the onset of puberty.3

“Without the presence of boys, girls tend to display


In girl-centric environments many of the social pressures placed
on girls are removed. This cultivates a healthy environment of their intelligence and curiosity regardless of powerful
acceptance that frees girls to dare new things and discover for age-determined notions of popularity, attractiveness
themselves just where their strengths and passions lie. or negative peer pressure.”4

2 Ambady, Nalini; Shih, Margaret; Kim, Amy; and Todd L. Pittinsky. “Stereotype Susceptibility in
Children: Effects of Identity Activation on Quantitative Performance.” Psychological Science, Vol.
12, No. 5 (Sep. 2001), p. 385-390. http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~na/Children.pdf
3 Catherine H. Knott. “Transitioning to Womanhood: Why Girls Need More Support.” http://www.
boardingschoolsforgirls.com/transitioning.html
4 Girls School Association. “What Girls’ Schools Do Differently.” http://www.gsa.uk.com/whya-
girlsschool/what-girls-schools-do-differently

6 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 7
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

All-girls schools help reduce gender stereotypes.5


Stereotypes impact girls’ test grades- “In 2008, research-
ers Kelly Danaher and Christian S. Crandall demon-
strated that stereotype threat casts a long shadow on
the Calculus AP exam. In fact, if the students taking the
test were asked to fill out the demographic information
identifying themselves as male or female at the end of
the exam, rather than the typical placement just before
the exam beings), an additional 4,700 girls would re-
ceive AP calculus credit each year!”6
“Research demonstrates that the very existence of the
negative stereotype (e.g., “boys are better than girls
at mathematics”) suppresses the test performance of
members of the negatively stereotyped group (Aronson,
2002). This phenomenon is known as stereotype threat.
Members of negatively stereotyped groups tend to un-
derperform in situations that have the potential to con-
firm the negative stereotype because their anxiety about
confirming the stereotype leads to negative thoughts
and difficulties with short-term memory (Halpern et
Imagine a culture of exploration that provokes girls to
take leaps of faith, challenge and trust themselves.
al., 2007). Young women who believe that they are
Imagine a community committed to developing the taking a test of mathematics ability (and are aware of
confidence of tomorrow’s thought leaders that are un- the stereotype of girls as inferior to boys in mathemat-
restricted by stereotypes and not defined by gender. ics achievement) perform less well than young women
who believe that the same test is a test of problem-solv-
ing strategies (Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999).”7

5 National Association for Single-Sex Public Education. “Single-Sex vs. Coed: The Evidence.”
http://www.singlesexschools.org/evidence.html
6 Lisa Damour and Larry Goodman. “Shielding Students from Stereotype Threat: A Guide for
Teachers.” http://www.nais.org/publications/ismagazinearticle.cfm?itemNumber=152245
7 Lisa Damour and Larry Goodman. “Shielding Students from Stereotype Threat: A Guide for
Teachers.” http://www.nais.org/publications/ismagazinearticle.cfm?itemNumber=152245

8 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 9
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

Dr Alice Sullivan’s research with the Single-sex “Margret Olafsdottir, an expert on single sex edu-
Schools Project showed that “Single-sex schools cation, said, “mixed-sex schools support and in-
seemed more likely to encourage students to pursue crease old traditional roles,” and single sex schools
academic paths according to their talents rather than break down gender stereotypes. Girls become more
their gender.” 8 competitive.” 10
“‘Gender intensification’ means that when girls and “When it comes to math and science, the list of
boys are together, they are very mindful of what the stereotypes reinforcing the idea that girls just aren’t
prevailing culture says is appropriate for girls, and any good is endless – but not necessarily true.”11
what’s appropriate for boys. As a result, the coed
format often has the unintended consequence of A University of Michigan study found that girls at
intensifying gender roles, despite the most enlight- single sex schools had fewer stereotypical ideas
ened leadership and teaching. Our culture is a sexist about what women can and cannot accomplish.
culture (and the culture of children and adolescents They found that both male and female graduates of
is even more sexist than the adult culture). The pre- single-sex schools are more likely to go on to a pres-
vailing culture sends all sorts of gendered messages tigious college and more likely to aspire to graduate
pushing girls and boys into pink and blue cubby- or professional school.12
holes. Flutes are for girls, children tell one another,
and trumpets are for boys (or so the children say).
Physics is for guys, and art history is for girls -- or so
the teenagers will tell you. You, the adult, can try
to tell them otherwise, but in the coed format the
forces driving ‘gender intensification’ may be too
strong for mere words to counteract. The single-
sex format, with the right kind of leadership, offers
a great opportunity to break down those gender
stereotypes. In a girls’ school, it’s cool to play the
trumpet.” 9

10 Boarding Schools for Girls. http://www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/study-summary-hidden-


benefits.html
8 BBC News. “Girls’ School Women ‘Earn More.’” September 22, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/ 11 Boarding Schools for Girls. “Today’s Girls - Myths Limit Math and Science Success.” http://
hi/uk_news/education/5370970.stm www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/girls-math-science.html
9 National Association for Single-Sex Public Education. “Advantages for Girls.” http://www. 12 National Association for Single Sex Public Education. “Single-Sex vs. Coed: The Evidence.”
singlesexschools.org/research-forgirls.htm. http://www.singlesexschools.org/research-singlesexvscoed.htm

10 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 11
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Implicit Stereotypes” are stereotyped thoughts and


beliefs that people may not know they have, or may
not want to want to admit to having. These implicit All-girls schools help reduce gender stereotypes.5
stereotypes can have “a powerful effect on gender
equity in science and mathematics engagement and
performance.”13
“Research demonstrates that the very existence of
According to an international 2009 study involving the negative stereotype (e.g., “boys are better than
more than half a million participants in 34 different girls at mathematics”) suppresses the test perfor-
countries, 70% of people around the world “harbor
mance of members of the negatively stereotyped
implicit stereotypes associating science with males more
than with females. Moreover, in countries whose citizens group (Aronson, 2002). This phenomenon is known
stereotyped most strongly, boys achieved at a higher as stereotype threat. Members of negatively stereo-
level in eighth-grade science and math.”14 typed groups tend to underperform in situations
This global study indicates that “Implicit stereotypes may that have the potential to confirm the negative ste-
contribute to continuing underachievement and under- reotype because their anxiety about confirming the
participation among girls and women in science com- stereotype leads to negative thoughts and difficul-
pared to their male peers.”15
ties with short-term memory (Halpern et al., 2007).
According to the study’s lead investigator, Brian Nosek, Young women who believe that they are taking a
researchers “found a general tendency, across every
country that we investigated, that people on average test of mathematics ability (and are aware of the
have an easier time associating science concepts with stereotype of girls as inferior to boys in mathematics
male, rather than with female…. If countries want to achievement) perform less well than young women
increase their competitiveness in science and engineer- who believe that the same test is a test of problem-
ing, they might want to look at their social environ- solving strategies (Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999).”6
ments, the social factors like implicit stereotypes that
exist at a cultural level, and how this might inhibit
women – who comprise more than half their intellectual
pool – from contributing to scientific and engineering Stereotypes impact girls’ test grades- “In 2008, re-
advancement.”16
searchers Kelly Danaher and Christian S. Crandall
13 “Citizens in 34 Countries Show Implicit Bias Linking Males More than Females with Science.” e!
Science News, June 22, 2009. http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/06/22/citizens.34.countries.
demonstrated that stereotype threat casts a long
show.implicit.bias.linking.males.more.females.with.science shadow on the Calculus AP exam. In fact, if the
14 “Citizens in 34 Countries Show Implicit Bias Linking Males More than Females with Science.” e!
Science News, June 22, 2009. http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/06/22/citizens.34.countries. students taking the test were asked to fill out the
show.implicit.bias.linking.males.more.females.with.science
15 “Citizens in 34 Countries Show Implicit Bias Linking Males More than Females with Science.” e!
5 National Association for Single-Sex Public Education. “Single-Sex vs. Coed: The
Evidence” http://www.singlesexschools.org/evidence.html
Science News, June 22, 2009. http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/06/22/citizens.34.countries.
show.implicit.bias.linking.males.more.females.with.science 6 Lisa Damour and Larry Goodman. “Shielding Students from Stereotype
16 “Citizens in 34 Countries Show Implicit Bias Linking Males More than Females with Science.” e! Threat: A Guide for Teachers.” http://www.nais.org/publications/ismagazinearticle.
Science News, June 22, 2009. http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/06/22/citizens.34.countries. cfm?itemNumber=152245
show.implicit.bias.linking.males.more.females.with.science

12 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 13
The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics


If the cure for cancer was in the mind of a girl, we (STEM) fields have become increasingly central to U.S. eco-
might never discover it. nomic competitiveness and growth. Long-term strategies to
maintain and increase living standards and promote opportu-
Myra Sadker17
nity will require coordinated efforts among public, private, and
not-for-profit entities to promote innovation and to prepare an
adequate supply of qualified workers for employment in STEM
fields.

American pre-eminence in STEM will not be secured or extended


without concerted effort and investment. Trends in K-12 and
higher education science and math preparation, coupled with de-
mographic and labor supply trends, point to a serious challenge:
our nation needs to increase the supply and quality of “knowl-
edge workers” whose specialized skills enable them to work
productively within the STEM industries and occupations.

It will not be sufficient to target baccalaureate and advanced


degree holders in STEM fields. Our nation’s economic future de-
pends upon improving the pipeline into the STEM fields for sub-
baccalaureate students as well as BA and advanced degree hold-
ers, for youth moving toward employment and adults already in
the workforce, for those already employed in STEM fields and
those who would like to change careers to secure better employ-
ment and earnings.
When girls’ achievement is discouraged in traditionally
male-dominated fields, their potential is limited and The seriousness of this challenge has penetrated public and opin-
society loses potentially talented individuals in important ion-makers’ consciousness—and government, industry, and edu-
fields such as science and technology.18 cation and training providers have begun to respond. NIH, NSF,
and the Department of Education have been leading the federal
Every girl should have the right to pursue her wildest effort. Industry associations, individual firms, foundations, and
other organizations have identified and tried to fill gaps. State
imaginings rather than “small realities.”19
governments, too, are working to strengthen the STEM work-
force pipeline. Much remains to be done, though, within govern-
ment and across diverse sectors, to ensure that U.S. education,
workforce, and economic systems rise to the STEM challenge.”20
17 The Myra Sadker Foundation. “Biography.” http://www.sadker.org/about-bio.html 20 U.S. Department of Labor. “The STEM Workforce Challenge: the Role of the Public Work-
18 “Teenage Girls Still Experience Harassment.” e! Science News, May 14, 2008. http://escien- force System in a National Solution for a Competitive Science, Technology, Engineering, and
cenews.com/articles/2008/05/15/teenage.girls.still.experience.harassment Mathematics (STEM) Workforce.” April, 2007.http://www.doleta.gov/youth_services/pdf/STEM_
19 Kobi Yamada. “She…” Seattle, WA: Compendium Inc., 2008. p.6. Report_4%2007.pdf

14 Serious Play for Serious Girls


The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

Cambridge University researchers validated the theo-


ry that girls’ performance in math and science-based
“Girls’ preoccupation with appearance ties up cog- courses improves significantly in single-sex education-
nitive resources, girls will have less time and men- al settings.22
tal energy for other pursuits. Girls may be learning
to prioritize certain rewards (male attention) over “Girls in girls-only schools were about 40% more
other rewards (academic accomplishment), thus lim- likely to take advanced science courses than were
iting their future educational and occupational op- girls of comparable ability at coed schools.”23
portunities. If they perceive occupations relating to
85% of all-girls school alumnae reported “that girls’
science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)
schools provide young women with more encourage-
as less consistent with a sexy self-image, they may
ment in the areas of science, math, and technology
be induced to want to be a model, fashion designer,
than do coed schools.”24
or pop star in order to embody the sexualized look
that they know is valued for women rather than A survey of 2,300 students regarding attitudes to-
choose to be a chemist, computer programmer, or ward science “found that girls at single-sex schools
engineer.”21 had significantly more positive attitudes toward sci-
ence in general, and physics and chemistry in particu-
lar, compared with girls at coed schools.”25
“Girls at all-girls schools reported enjoying math
more, and found math less difficult, than girls who
attended coed schools. Girls at the all-girls schools
were more than twice as likely to say that they
planned to take advanced math, compared with girls
at coed schools.”26

22 Mike Younger et. al. “Raising Boys’ Achievement.” University of Cambridge, 2005 http://www.
education.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR636.pdf.
23 National Association for Single Sex Public Schools. “Single-sex classes increase girls’ par-
ticipation in physics, computer science, etc.” http://www.singlesexschools.org/advantages-equity.
htm
24 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and the Goodman Research Group. “Achievement,
Leadership & Success: A Report on Educational, Professional, and Life Outcomes at Girls’
Schools in the United States.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/research-
briefsfromtheusandtheworld/achievementleadershipsuccess/
25 National Association for Single Sex Public Schools. “Single-sex classes increase girls’ par-
ticipation in physics, computer science, etc.” http://www.singlesexschools.org/advantages-equity.
htm
21 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of the 26 National Association for Single Sex Public Schools. “Single-sex classes increase girls’ par-
APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological Asso- ticipation in physics, computer science, etc.” http://www.singlesexschools.org/advantages-equity.
ciation, 2007.  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf htm

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The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Ten percent more girls’ school graduates rate their In her classic study, Professor Elizabeth Tidball
confidence in math and computer abilities high at the “found that women who graduate from all-women
start of college compared to their peers from coed colleges are five times more likely to earn doctor-
schools.”27 ates in math, physics and chemistry than their co-ed
counterparts.”29
“Achievement indicators suggest that girls’ school
alumnae enter college with test scores above the
norm. Once in college, they major in science and
math at a higher rate than females and males
nationwide.”28

27 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “Research shows: girls’ school graduates have an 29 Boarding Schools for Girls. http://www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/study-summary-drsax-
edge.” http://www.ncgs.org/researchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/ speech.html
28 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and the Goodman Research Group. “Achievement,
Leadership & Success: A Report on Educational, Professional, and Life Outcomes at Girls’
Schools in the United States.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/research-
briefsfromtheusandtheworld/achievementleadershipsuccess/

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“At every age, girls in girls-only classrooms are more


likely to explore ‘non-traditional’ subjects such as
computer science, physics (or the primary school
precursors to the physical sciences), woodworking,
etc. This finding is extraordinarily robust, having been
replicated in every age group from kindergarten through
college, and in every country where researchers have
examined this question, including the United States, the
United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand,
Jamaica, Iceland, and Kenya.”30
In all-girls schools, girls “feel more comfortable
expressing themselves, because they are not afraid
of being embarrassed by boys or having the class
dominated by males. This allows girls to more likely
feel good about getting good grades and not outshining
boys because in a mixed classroom girl might receive
mixed messages about being smart but also downplaying
intelligence in trying to attract boys.”31
At an all-girls school, “girls are encouraged to take
academic and learning risks in terms of leadership. It’s
a comfortable place to learn from risk-taking, to make
Every girl should have ample opportunities to develop her self public mistakes, and to learn and grow personally and
confidence; take risks, succeed, and fail. In a girl-centric school girls academically from them.”32
have the privilege to learn from their own mistakes without the fear
of judgment or rejection. Imagine a shame-free environment that “Biology is not destiny. At all-girls schools, educators
encourages hard work and values brilliant mistakes. challenge girls to spend more time in sports and risk-
taking experiences, and encourage them to develop
“male-oriented” skills through spatial tasks like
puzzles and building, and strategy tasks like chess and
checkers.”33

30 National Association for Single-Sex Public Education. “Advantages for Girls.” http://www.
singlesexschools.org/research-forgirls.htm.
31 Eileen Flaherty. “Single Sex Education in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools.” 2009.
http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/2009_student_papers/
flaherty_single_sex.pdf
32 Sheila Riley. “A Conversation with Meg Moulton, National Coalition of Girls’ Schools” March
2, 2009. http://www.hotchalk.com/mydesk/index.php/editorial/106-leadership/592-a-conversa-
tion-with-meg-moulton-national-coalition-of-girls-schools
33 Boarding Schools for Girls. http://www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/study-summary-benefits.
html
20 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 21
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Girls’ schools are expert in recognizing the qualities


of girls and understanding what makes them tick and
how they learn. This knowledge is built up over years
of experience of teaching girls.”35
“Women need to be treated as equal, not identical, to
men. Single-sex schools have long known this, applied
the philosophy to their pedagogy, and therefore
maintained a strong reputation for success.”36
Single-gender learning environments allow teachers to
create gender-specific learning environments, which
can significantly improve academic performance. Girls,
for example, are four times more hearing sensitive
than boys. Because of their differences in hearing sen-
sitivity, boys are more engaged in louder and livelier
classrooms, while girls learn better in quieter and more
relaxed environments.37
“Most co-ed institutions inherently gear the teaching
of math and science towards boys simply because they
adhere to relatively traditional teaching methods,”
whereas “Science and math in an all-girls’ school will
be taught in a way that appeals to girls’ gender-specific
Adopting a girl-centered teaching strategy that learning styles. As a result, girls in single-sex environ-
appreciates how girls “experience school and the ments learn to successfully adapt their particular skills
world” is key to offering an unlimited range of academic
and strengths to subject matter that may have seemed
and experiential opportunities that will nurture her
potential and inspirit her healthy sense of competition. difficult, confusing or overly challenging in a tradition-
Transformation and innovation are the fruit of non- al, co-ed setting.”38
traditional methods and unconventional thinking. 34
35 Girls School Association. “What Girls’ Schools Do Differently.” http://www.gsa.uk.com/whya-
girlsschool/what-girls-schools-do-differently
36 Susan Pinker. “The Sexual Paradox: Men, Women, and the Real Gender Gap.” Scribner,
2009.
37 Boarding Schools for Girls. http://www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/study-summary-teaching-
methods.html
34 Girls School Association. “Frequently Asked Questions.” http://www.gsa.uk.com/whyagirlss- 38 Boarding Schools for Girls. “Today’s Girls - Myths Limit Math and Science Success.” http://
chool/frequently-asked-questions www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/girls-math-science.html

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The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

Diversity in education is not only exposing children to and math self-concepts are less stable than those of
different cultures, but also exposing them to different boys (e.g., Simpkins, Davis-Kean, & Eccles, 2006). For
learning styles and curriculums. The Court in U.S. v. example, girls begin to underestimate their math abili-
Virginia acknowledged that diversity in education is an ty relative to boys and show diminished interest in up-
important government objective. Creating single sex per level, optional math classes in high school (Linver,
schools, grades or classrooms, offers different opportu- Davis-Kean, & Eccles, 2002). Fredrickson and Roberts
nities for children to learn.39 (1997) have pointed out that these declines in estima-
tions of ability and the value girls place on math begin
Researchers at Virginia Tech have discovered that girls’
around puberty, when their bodies mature. Studies
and boys’ brains develop in different sequences- specif-
show that single-sex math classes lead girls to feel less
ically the area of “the brain involved in language and
self-conscious and improve their math performance
fine motor skills (such as handwriting) mature about
substantially (Rutti, 1997). This may not be solely be-
six years earlier in girls than in boys” and “the areas
cause boys would otherwise dominate the classroom
of the brain involved in math and geometry mature
(one popular explanation for the success of single-sex
about four years earlier in boys than in girls.”40
math classes for girls) but also because without boys,
Boys and girls require different teaching strategies girls can literally take their minds off their own bodies
because their brains are also wired differently. When and think more effectively.”42
studying math and sciences, girls use their cerebral
“The advantages of single-sex education for girls fall
cortex- the part of their brain that processes language.
into three categories:
This means girls are better able to learn math and sci-
ence when it introduced through practical examples as • expanded educational opportunity
story problems that relates to girls’ real worlds. Boys, • custom-tailored learning and instruction
however, do better in math and science when the les-
• greater autonomy, especially in heterosexual
sons are focused on pure theory rather than language,
relationships”43
stories, and practical applications.41
“Research has shown that girls appreciate an environ-
“Sexualization may contribute to girls’ dropping out of ment in which they are neither competing with boys
higher level mathematics in high school. Studies show for the teachers attention nor being distracted by
that as girls develop through adolescence, their science boy’s behavior.”44
42 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of the
39 Eileen Flaherty. “Single Sex Education in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools.” 2009. APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological Asso-
http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/2009_student_papers/ ciation, 2007.  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf
flaherty_single_sex.pdf 43 National Association of Single Sex Public Education. “Advantages for Girls.” http://www.
40 National Association for Single Sex Public Education. “Computers, Brains, and Gender singlesexschools.org/advantages-forgirls.htm
Equity.” http://www.singlesexschools.org/advantages-equity.htm 44 Eileen Flaherty. “Single Sex Education in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools.” 2009.
41 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “Research shows: girls’ school graduates have an http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/2009_student_papers/
edge.” http://www.ncgs.org/researchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/ flaherty_single_sex.pdf

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The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“In both the elementary and middle school samples,


more positive academic and behavioral interactions
between teachers and students (both boys and girls)
were observed in the single sex schools than in the co-
educational comparison schools.”45
“Teachers in the single sex schools were more likely
than teachers in the comparison schools to have
earned certification beyond a master’s degree but on
average, teachers from single-sex schools had fewer
years of experience in the classroom.”46
The best single sex girls schools are not just segregat-
ing boys from girls but are hiring experts in the in the
teaching of girls and boys. “First point to remember,
when you consider evidence regarding the effective-
ness of gender-separate classrooms: Simply putting girls
in one room, and boys in another, is no guarantee of
anything good happening. On the contrary: some pub-
lic schools which have adopted single-sex classrooms,
without appropriate preparation, have experienced bad
outcomes.”47
Just as girls in all-girl schools show more interest in
math and sciences, boys in all-boys schools show more
interest in literature and modern languages, compared
to their peers in mixed-gender schools.48

45 Eileen Flaherty. “Single Sex Education in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools.” 2009.
http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/2009_student_papers/
flaherty_single_sex.pdf
46 Eileen Flaherty. “Single Sex Education in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools.” 2009.
http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/2009_student_papers/
flaherty_single_sex.pdf
47 Dr. Leonard Sax. “The Promise and Peril of Single-Sex Public Education.” Education Week,
March 2, 2005. P. 48, 34, 35. http://www.singlesexschools.org/edweek.html.
48 BBC News. “Girls’ School Women ‘Earn More.’” September 22, 2006. http://news.bbc.
co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/5370970.stm

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The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Researchers writing in the Journal of Educational


Psychology found that students in single-sex schools are
more involved in learning and classroom activities and
less preoccupied with social status and interactions than
those in co-ed situations.”49
“Single sex schools have a better school climate, more
school community and better student interaction action
with teachers, all of which can lead to better grades and
better career opportunities in the future.”50
A major study at Cambridge University in London
found that “single-sex education was a significant factor
in establishing a school culture that raises educational
achievement.”51
“Celebrate learning without social distractions. Girls’
schools offer an environment in which girls can
concentrate on learning without the distraction of
boys.”52
Girls who attend all-girl schools report spending more
time studying and doing homework. 62% of female
graduates from independent all-girl schools report
having spent 11 hours or more each week studying
Consider an environment where learning is natural, or doing homework, compared to only 42% of
camaraderie becomes companionship, courage is independent mixed-gender school graduates.53
celebrated, exploration is encouraged and barriers
and boundaries fall to the wayside.

49 Boarding Schools for Girls. http://www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/study-summary-hidden-


benefits.html
50 Eileen Flaherty. “Single Sex Education in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools.” 2009.
http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/2009_student_papers/
flaherty_single_sex.pdf
51 National Association for Single Sex Public Education. “Single-Sex vs. Coed: The Evidence.”
http://www.singlesexschools.org/research-singlesexvscoed.htm
52 Girls School Association. “What Girls’ Schools Do Differently.” http://www.gsa.uk.com/whya-
girlsschool/what-girls-schools-do-differently
53 Linda J. Sax, et. al. “Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools:
Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College.” P.7. http://www.ncgs.org/
researchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf

28 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 29
The Case for Girls’ Schools

Girls who attend all-girl schools are more likely to


engage in group study and peer-based academic
engagement.54
“Girls receive more individual attention in single-sex
schools.”55
53% of independent single-sex graduates reporting
that they study with other students on a frequent
basis, compared with 45% among independent
coeducational graduates.56
Give a girl an education
65% of girls in all-girl high schools report tutoring and introduce her
fellow students, compared to 58% of girls who attend
mixed-gender high schools.57 properly into the world,
Girls at all-girls schools “spend more time on non-
stereotypical extracurricular activities.”58 and ten to one but
she has the means of
settling well, without
further expense to
anybody.
Jane Austen
54 Linda J. Sax, et. al. “Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools:
Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College.” P.8. http://www.ncgs.org/
researchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
55 Linda J. Sax, et. al. “Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools:
Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College.” http://www.ncgs.org/re-
searchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
56 Linda J. Sax, et. al. “Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools:
Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College.” P.8. http://www.ncgs.org/
researchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
57 Linda J. Sax, et. al. “Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools:
Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College.” P.8. http://www.ncgs.org/
researchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
58 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of the
APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological Asso-
ciation, 2007.  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf

30 Serious Play for Serious Girls


The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Single sex schools are also known to have more


opportunity for leadership roles, which benefits
“Girls’ schools don’t just offer equal females because males are more likely to take on
leadership roles in mixed schools.”61
opportunities but every opportunity.”60
Girls who attend all-girl schools are more likely
to rate their academic ability, intellectual self-
confidence, writing ability, and speaking ability as
“above average” or “in the highest ten percent.” 62
The single greatest factor deterring girls from
leadership roles is the lack of confidence in concrete
skills.63
45% of girls that report avoiding leadership
positions specifically because they dislike speaking
in front of others.64 Conversely, girls who attend
all-girl schools are more likely to rate their speaking
ability as “above average” or “in the highest ten
percent” of their peers.65
93% of recent graduates from all-girls schools
reported that “girls’ schools provide greater
Every girl should have the right to lead change, leadership opportunities than co-ed schools.”66
champion causes, and seize opportunities. Confident
leaders with a certain sense of self and an authentic
voice are initiated into their purpose one triumphant
challenge and feat at time. Every student body
61 National Association for Single-Sex Public Education. “Advantages for Girls.” http://www.
leadership position in a girls school is held by girls singlesexschools.org/research-forgirls.htm.
assuring that there are no “limitations on their ambitions, 62 Linda J. Sax, et. al. “Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools:
Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College.” P.8-9. http://www.ncgs.org/
either professionally or personally.”59 researchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
63 Girl Scout Research Institute. “Change It Up: What Girls Say About Redefining Leadership.”
2008, p. 17.
“Girls’ schools don’t just offer equal opportunities but every opportunity.”60
64 Girl Scout Research Institute. “Change It Up: What Girls Say About Redefining Leadership.”
2008, p. 19
65 Linda J. Sax, et. al. “Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools:
Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College.” P.8-9. http://www.ncgs.org/
59 The Ladies College. “Welcome from the Principal.” http://www.ladiescollege.com/ researchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
60 Service Parent’s Guide to Boarding Schools. “Single Sex or Co Ed?” http://www.service- 66 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “The Benefits of Attending a Girls’ School - Section
schools.com/cms/single_sex_or_coeducation_the_pros_and_cons/ 2.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/2-consistentdata/

32 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 33
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

80% of recent graduates from all-girls schools “Single sex schools contribute to higher academic
reported that they “had held leadership positions achievement. Single sex schools, raise girls confidence
since graduating from high school.”67 and contribution in the classroom, which can then
lead to higher academic performance.”68

67 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “The Benefits of Attending a Girls’ School - Section 68 Eileen Flaherty. “Single Sex Education in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools.” 2009.
2.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/2-consistentdata/ http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/2009_student_papers/
flaherty_single_sex.pdf

34 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 35
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

91% of all-girls school alumnae reported that


“girls’ schools are more relevant to young women’s
academic needs than are coed schools”70
All-girls schools help provide girls with “greater
self-confidence, greater statistical chances for
academic and career success, a healthier sense of
competition, greater levels of athletic involvement
and achievement and exposure to a wider range of
academic and experiential opportunities.”71
“Teenage girls confront a reality when studying U.S.
government and history:
They realize that there is less female representa-
tion in the House of Representatives, the Sen-
ate, and the Supreme Court. They identify that
no woman has ever been elected President or
Vice-President of the United States. It will take
a lot of reinforcement to empower girls to see
that historically and momentarily women are
part of a group that is often treated as second
class citizens in the worlds of politics, high fi-
“Girls’ schools celebrate the female perspective and way nance, and power. But that it can change. They
of doing things, are places where girls are accustomed are the change.”72
to being heard and being valued for who they are,
irrespective of what they look like or what they wear. The In an all girls school “girls can find strong role models
girls’ school environment affirms and encourages young amongst the staff, ethos and philosophy of the
women in their capacities as confident individuals, leaders
school.”73
and agents of social change.”69
70 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and the Goodman Research Group. “Achievement,
Every girl should have the benefit of culturally Leadership & Success: A Report on Educational, Professional, and Life Outcomes at Girls’
Schools in the United States.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/research-
sanctioned beliefs that empower her sense of being and briefsfromtheusandtheworld/achievementleadershipsuccess/
nourish her full potential. 71 Boarding Schools for girls. “Today’s Girls - Myths Limit Math and Science Success.” http://
www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/girls-math-science.html
72 Catherine H. Knott, Ph.D. “Transitioning to Womanhood: Why Girls Need More Support.”
Boarding Schools for Girls. http://www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/transitioning.html
73 Eileen Flaherty. “Single Sex Education in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools.” 2009.
69 Girls School Association. “What Girls Schools Do Differently.” http://www.gsa.uk.com/whya- http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/2009_student_papers/
girlsschool/what-girls-schools-do-differently flaherty_single_sex.pdf

36 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 37
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

While studying U.S. government and history, “girls Girls in an all girl’s school “see these schools as
experience anger and disbelief, or in repression of safe havens that can be called their own...” They
feelings, submission to the rules of popular culture, “appreciate single sex schools for the community
and a refusal to acknowledge that these issues of atmosphere.”76
fairness and justice are important for their well-being. Socialization theories help us see that girls’
These subjects become particularly confusing because understanding of appropriate femininity is not
the message voiced to girls through the media and in “natural” or innate but is acquired through
school is that they have complete equality with boys, developmental processes whereby girls draw
and that women can be anything they want to be, information from the adults and peers, real and
and achieve equally with men. When perceived as fictional, around them.77
reality rather than well-intentioned encouragement,
“Girls develop their identities as teenagers and as
it creates confusion for girls and boys; it is a message women, and they learn the socially acceptable ways
similar to the denial of the existence of racism for to engage in intimate relationships by modeling what
people of color.”74 they see older girls and young women doing (Bussey &
“…single-sex education doesn’t mean a single-sex Bandura, 1984, 1992; Lips, 1989) and by imitating the
life… Girls get plenty of the real world in the rest of ways in which women are represented in the media
(Huston & Wright, 1998). Concomitantly, parents and
their lives outside the school gates. It can be a great
other adults may overtly or inadvertently communicate
relief for girls to know that after a hectic weekend expectations that girls should embody the appearances,
packed with lots of social traumas, they don’t attitudes, and behaviors that are exemplified by
have to deal with it all on Monday morning. Girls’ sexualized adult women (of course, parents might
schools can provide the space for girls to develop instead encourage girls to reject these sexualized
at their own pace set apart from the cruel realities models).”78
of mixed teenagedom. There can be big advantages
in having to separate business and pleasure. By A study of 270,000 students, conducted by the
the time girls are ready to leave school they have Australian Counsel for Educational Research, has found
that “boys and girls in single-sex schools were more
acquired higher self-esteem, greater self-confidence,
likely to be better behaved and to find learning more
better exam passes especially in vital subjects, more
enjoyable and the curriculum more relevant.”79
genuine subject choice, and more opportunities for
leadership. All these things will make them better 76 Eileen Flaherty. “Single Sex Education in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools.” 2009.
http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/2009_student_papers/
equipped for a life in which they will be both career flaherty_single_sex.pdf
women and mothers, balancing roles to an extent 77 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of the
APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological Associa-
that few men must do.”75 tion, 2007.  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf.
74 Catherine H. Knott, Ph.D. “Transitioning to Womanhood: Why Girls Need More Support.” 78 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of the
Boarding Schools for Girls. http://www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/transitioning.html APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological Associa-
75 Girls School Association. “Frequently Asked Questions.” http://www.gsa.uk.com/whyagirlss- tion, 2007.  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf.
chool/frequently-asked-questions 79 Sunrise. “Therapeutic Boarding Schools for Girls.” www.sunrisertc.com/articles/therapeutic-
boarding-schools-for-girls.php
38 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 39
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Cultivation theory (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, &


Signorielli, 1994) argues that exposure to consistent
themes over time leads viewers to adopt a particular
perspective of the world, one that coincides with the
images they have been viewing.”80
“Automatic gender stereotypes and attitudes operate
in both women and men (Banaji & Greenwald,
1995; L. Rudman & Kilianski, 2000), and other
types of automatic associations (e.g., a link between
power and sex; Zurbriggen, 2000) are present in
some people. Although these attitudes, beliefs, and
associations are automatic, they are not immutable
(Dasgupta & Greenwald, 2001). For example,
exposure to female leaders led to a decrease in
women’s automatic gender stereotyping (Dasgupta &
Asgari, 2004).”81

80 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of the
APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological As-
sociation, 2007.  www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf
81 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of the
APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological As-
sociation, 2007.  www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf.

40 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 41
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

Girls who attend all-girls schools are more likely to


play competitive sports.82
Female student athletes in Division 1 sports graduate
college at higher rates than male athletes and non-
athlete females.83
In 2002 the National Youth Survey of Civic
Engagement revealed that young women actively
engaged in sports were more apt to volunteer,
register to vote, take a stand publicly, stay current
and boycott than were young women that had not
participated in sports.84
82% of female executives played sports growing up,
most of whom report that their experience in sports
contributes to their success in business.85
Girls that participate in athletics and physical
activities have heightened esteem and an increased
satisfaction with their weight, regardless of their
actual weight.86
“Athletic activities inherently require a focus on
body competence, agency, and action; they provide
girls with the opportunity to develop a self-concept
founded on what they can do rather than on how
Natural talent only determines the limits of your they look.”87
athletic potential. It’s dedication and a willingness 82 National Association for Single-Sex Public Education. “Single-Sex Education.” http://www.
to discipline your life that makes you great. singlesexschools.org/home.php
83 In: Women’s Sports Foundation. “Women’s Sports & Fitness Facts & Statistics.” March 26,
Billie Jean King 2009. P.2. http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/~/media/Files/PDFs%20and%20other%20
files%20by%20Topic/Issues/General/W/WSF%20FACTS%20March%202009.pdf
84 Lopez, M.H. & Moore, K. “Participation in Sports and Civic Engagement.” The Center for In-
formation and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2006. http://civicyouth.org/PopUps/
FactSheets/FS_06_Sports_and_Civic_Engagement.pdf
85 In: Women’s Sports Foundation. “Women’s Sports & Fitness Facts & Statistics.” March 26,
2009. p.29. http://www.womenssportsfoundation.
org/~/media/Files/PDFs%20and%20other%20files%20by%20Topic/Issues/General/W/WSF%20
FACTS%20March%202009.pdf
86 The Girl Scout Research Institute. “The New Normal? What Girls Say About Healthy Living,”
(2006) http://www.girlscouts.org/research/publications/original/gs_exec_summary.pdf
87 Women’s Sports Foundation. “Women’s Sports & Fitness Facts & Statistics.” March 26,
2009. P.2. http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/~/media/Files/PDFs%20and%20other%20

42 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 43
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

Participation in sports and physical activities is related “Because physical activity may be a powerful means
to healthier sexual development.88 of negating self-objectification and other negative
“Teenage female athletes are less likely to use consequences of sexualization, the sexualization of
marijuana, cocaine or “other” illicit drugs (such as women and girl athletes may be especially dangerous
LSD, PCP, speed or heroin), less likely to be suicidal, or harmful for girls. If this domain becomes co-
less likely to smoke and more likely to have positive opted and turned into yet another venue where girls
body images than female non-athletes.89 are taught to focus on how they look rather than
on what their bodies can do, they will have been
“Teenage female athletes are less than half as likely
deprived of an important method of resistance and
to get pregnant as female non-athletes (5% and
11%, respectively), more likely to report that they healthy development.”94
had never had sexual intercourse than female non- 66% of people aged 18 to 30 who had positive
athletes (54% and 41%, respectively), and more
high school gym class experiences report they that
likely to experience their first sexual intercourse later
in adolescence than female non-athletes.90 have remained “very active” since high school. Only
5% of adults who reported having discouraging or
All-girls schools allow girls to engage in competitive negative high school gym experiences considered
sports and physical education opportunities without themselves “very active.”95
fear of being labeled a “jock”, being seen as
masculine, or being seen as unattractive to boys.91 30% of women report their high school gym
class experience was overall embarrassing and
Gender stereotyping, homophobia, and lack of
opportunity hold girls back from participating in discouraging, compared to only 11% of men.96
sports and physical activities. 92 Between 2003-2006, girls comprised 49% of the
40% of girls’ ages 11-17 say they do not play sports high school population but only received 41%
because they do not feel skilled or competent and of all athletic participation opportunities. Female
23% do not think their bodies look good.93 high school athletes received a total of 1.25 million
files%20by%20Topic/Issues/General/W/WSF%20FACTS%20March%202009.pdf fewer participation opportunities than their male
88 Women’s Sports Foundation. “Women’s Sports & Fitness Facts & Statistics.” March 26,
2009. P.2. http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/~/media/Files/PDFs%20and%20other%20 counterparts.97
files%20by%20Topic/Issues/General/W/WSF%20FACTS%20March%202009.pdf
89 Miller, Sabo et. al. “The Women’s Sports Foundation Report: Health Risks and the Teen
Athlete.” Women’s Sports Foundation, 2000. http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/Content/ 94 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of the
Research-Reports/Research-Report-Health-Risks-and-the-Teen-Athlete.aspx APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological Asso-
90 Miller, Sabo et. al. “The Women’s Sports Foundation Report: Sport and Teen Pregnancy.” ciation, 2007.  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf
Women’s Sports Foundation, 1998. 95 In: “Women’s Sports & Fitness Facts & Statistics.” March 26, 2009. p.29. www.womenss-
91 Boarding Schools for Girls. http://www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/girls-school-benefits.html portsfoundation.org/binary-data/WSF_ARTICLE/pdf_file/191.pdf
92 “Physical Activity & Sport in the Lives of Girls.” President’s Council on Physical Fitness and 96 In: “Women’s Sports & Fitness Facts & Statistics.” March 26, 2009. p.29. www.womenss-
Sports, 1997. http://www.fitness.gov/girlssports.pdf portsfoundation.org/binary-data/WSF_ARTICLE/pdf_file/191.pdf
93 Girl Scouts. “Sports and Physical Activity.” http://www.girlscouts.org/research/facts_findings/ 97 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 2003-2004; National Federation of State
sports_and_physical_activity.asp High School Associations (NFHS), 2005-2006.

44 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 45
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Females of all ages are less active than their male A 2005 study suggested that high school girls may
peers.”98 benefit from single-sex gym classes that offer an
alternative to the competitive team sports found in
The Centers for Disease Control reports that 51.7% many physically education programs. The proposed
of high school girls do not take a regular gym class curriculum included health education lessons
(regular indicating one or more times a week), that promote skills needed to maintain a healthy
compared to 40% of high school boys.99 lifestyle.100

98 “Studies reveal lifelong gender difference in physical activity.” e! Science News, January 5 100 Pate, R.R., et al. “Promotion of physical activity among high school girls: A randomized con-
2009. http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/01/05/studies.reveal.lifelong.gender.difference. trolled trial.” Journal of Public Health. In: Gehring, J. “Researchers say girls thrive in single-sex
physical.activity gym classes.” Education Week, 2005.
99 Danice K. Eaton, et. al. “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance” Centers for Disease Control,
2005. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5505a1.htm

46 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 47
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Some studies of the effects of school uniforms on


students’ perceptions also lend indirect support
for the notion that sexualizing clothing may be
a factor in harassment of girls. When students
dress in uniforms, fellow students as well as
teachers rate them as higher in academic ability
and positive school-related behavior than students
in standard dress (Behling, 1994). Furthermore,
one study showed that girls who wear uniforms
report more positive perceptions of safety and
peer relationships in school than girls in regular
clothes (Fosseen, 2002). Standardized uniforms
may help to change those cultural messages and
understandings of who girls are and what they
are capable of, thereby reducing the incidence of
sexual harassment in general.” 101

101 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of
the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological As-
sociation, 2007.  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf

48 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 49
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

All girls’ schools provide an alternative reality to


the sexualizing influences in the culture. Freeing
girls to “form their own alternative perspectives
to the sexualizing influences in the culture”103 and
equipping girls to reject “images of impossibly thin,
sexualized women’s bodies as an appropriate goal for
themselves.”104

Girls’ schools “counter mass-media influences by freeing


girls from the pressure to conform to sexist patterns of
behavior, and providing them with a framework with
which to judge the image of girls in today’s media.”105

“Distorted media images and culturally sanctioned


beauty standards negatively impact healthy sexual
development in girls. Sexualization challenges the
perceptions and expectations that girls have of their
physical self resulting in lacking confidence, depression
and eating disorders.”106

In a girl-centric school “girls are free to grow up at their “The perspectives and experiences that a young girl
own pace.102
brings to her exposure to sexualizing images and
experiences, as well as her cognitive, intellectual, social,
and even physical development, might profoundly
influence the effect that such exposure would have on
her, rendering it quite different from what a teenage
103 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of
the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological As-
sociation, 2007.  www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf
104 Catherine H. Knott, Ph.D. “Transitioning to Womanhood: Why Girls Need More Support.”
www.boardingschoolsforgirls.com/transitioning.html
105 Girls School Association. “What girls’ schools do differently.” www.gsa.uk.com/whyagirlss-
chool/what-girls-schools-do-differently
106 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of
102 Girls School Association. “What girls’ schools do differently.” www.gsa.uk.com/whyagirlss- the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological As-
chool/what-girls-schools-do-differently sociation, 2007.  www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf

50 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 51
The Case for Girls’ Schools

girl would experience. We must deduce, therefore,


that what young women believe about themselves and
how they feel in the present moment were shaped by Since a time has come, Made-
how they were treated and what they were exposed to moiselle, when the severe laws of
when they were girls. Knowing how young women feel
about and respond to sexualization, then, is entirely men no longer prevent women
relevant to understanding how girls feel about and from applying themselves to the
respond to sexualization.”107
sciences and other disciplines,
“The messages to girls that they are to be considered it seems to me that those of us
as bodies and objects first and foremost, present who can, should use this long-
serious barriers to the successful development of young
women. Paradoxically, sometimes the brightest young craved freedom to study and
women, often the ones who had high grades and were to let men see how greatly they
involved in many activities in elementary school, are
most at risk as they may be most aware of the negative wronged us when depriving us of
messages about women.”108 its honor and advantages. And
“Schools that provide athletic and other extracurricular
if any woman becomes so profi-
opportunities that help girls develop a more cient as to be able to write down
empowering view of their bodies may also protect girls her thoughts, let her do so and
from the influence of sexualization.”109
not despise the honor but rather
flaunt it instead of fine clothes,
necklaces, and rings. For these
may be considered ours only by
use, whereas the honor of being
107 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of
the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological As-
educated is ours entirely.
sociation, 2007.  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf. p.4
108 Mary Pipher and Ruth Ross. “Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls.”
Louise Labé
Riverhead Trade, 2005. poet (c.1560)
109 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. “Report of
the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Washington, DC: American Psychological As-
sociation, 2007.  http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/events/pdfs/apa_report.pdf.

52 Serious Play for Serious Girls


The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

Self-perception and self-confidence are significant


indicators of success in college and in life.110
“Each year, American taxpayers pay as much as an
estimated $2 billion for remedial college education.
Deficits in basic skills cost businesses, colleges,
and underprepared graduates as much as $16
billion annually in lost productivity and remedial
expenses.”111
Girls who attended all-girls schools scored 28-43
pointers higher on their SATs than girls who attended
mixed-gender schools.112
In a survey, 95% of recent graduates from all-girls
schools reported being “very or extremely satisfied
with their schools’ strong academic curriculum.”113
93% of recent graduates from all-girls schools
reported being “very or extremely satisfied with the
individualized attention they received.”114
99% of recent graduates from all-girls schools
reported feeling “more or equally prepared to
interact with faculty compared with their peers who
A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. attended co-ed schools.”115
But the search to find that voice can be remarkably
difficult. It’s complicated by the fact that in most nations
110 Gary Fountain. “Study Shows Benefits of All-Girls Schools.” Richmond Times Dispatch,
women receive substantially less education than men. April 20 2009. http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/opinion/commentary/article/FOUN-
Melinda Gates TAIN426_20090424-200214/263675/
111 National Governors Association. “Testimony.” http://www.nga.org/portal/site/nga/menuitem.
0f8c660ba7cf98d18a278110501010a0/?vgnextoid=004fae45e2c33010VgnVCM1000001a0101
0aRCRD
112 Linda J. Sax, et. al. “Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools:
Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College.” P.9. http://www.ncgs.org/
researchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
113 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “The Benefits of Attending a Girls’ School - Section
2.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/2-consistentdata/
114 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “The Benefits of Attending a Girls’ School - Section
2.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/2-consistentdata/
115 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “The Benefits of Attending a Girls’ School - Section
2.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/2-consistentdata/

54 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 55
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

93% of recent graduates from all-girls schools reported “As a college professor I could identify students from
being “very or extremely satisfied with how their girls’ schools with a 90 percent accuracy rate on the first
schools prepared them for college.”116 day of class. They were the young women whose hands
shot up in the air, who were not afraid to defend their
97% of recent graduates from all-girls schools reported positions, and who assumed that I would be interested
feeling “more or equally prepared for public speaking in their perspective.”122
compared with their peers who attended co-ed
schools.”117
Girls who attend all-girl schools “are more likely to
pursue careers in engineering, engage in political
discussions, keep current with political affairs, and see
college as a stepping stone to graduate school.118
All-girls’ school alumnae reported feeling more prepared
for college science and mathematics than their coed
school counterparts.119
Three quarters of all-girls’ school alumnae reported
feeling “more prepared for humanities in college than
their coed school counterparts.”120
“71% of girls’ school alumnae felt more prepared to
transition to college than their counterparts from coed
high schools.”121

116 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “The Benefits of Attending a Girls’ School - Section 2.”
http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/2-consistentdata/
117 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “The Benefits of Attending a Girls’ School - Section 2.”
http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/2-consistentdata/
118 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “Research shows: girls’ school graduates have an
edge.” http://www.ncgs.org/researchshowsgirlsschoolgraduateshaveanedge/
119 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and the Goodman Research Group. “Achievement,
Leadership & Success: A Report on Educational, Professional, and Life Outcomes at Girls’ Schools
in the United States.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/researchbriefsfromtheu-
sandtheworld/achievementleadershipsuccess/
120 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and the Goodman Research Group. “Achievement,
Leadership & Success: A Report on Educational, Professional, and Life Outcomes at Girls’ Schools
in the United States.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/researchbriefsfromtheu-
sandtheworld/achievementleadershipsuccess/
121 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and the Goodman Research Group. “Achievement,
Leadership & Success: A Report on Educational, Professional, and Life Outcomes at Girls’ Schools
in the United States.” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/researchbriefsfromtheu- 122 The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “The Benefits of Attending a Girls’ School - Section
sandtheworld/achievementleadershipsuccess/ 3” http://www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/3-girlsfirstforemost/

56 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 57
The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“Census statistics released September 16, 2010 show


that the women still earn 77 percent of what men
earn, based on the median earnings of full-time, year-
round workers in 2009. Both men’s and women’s
earnings showed slight increases from 2008 to 2009,
with men’s at $47,127 and women’s at $36,278, a
difference of $10,849.”124
“Although women are half of the work force, they
make 73 cents for every dollar a man makes. Women
continue to lag behind men in the professional fields
of chemistry, computers, and engineering.”125
Graduates of all-girls schools “have learned to be
more self-confident in negotiating their wages and
salaries.”126
“Single-sex schoolgirls’ higher earnings might have
been because they were filling more technical or
scientific roles even within female-dominated jobs.”127
Graduates of all-girls schools “exhibit a belief in their
talent and potential that is measurable.”128
“The vast majority of NCGS girls’ school alumnae
view having a rewarding career or profession as an
Long-term studies have shown that “women in their 40s” integral part of their lives. These are young women
who attended all-girl schools have higher incomes and who have learned to set high goals for themselves,
subsequent lifetime earnings than girls who attended and to give it their all in attaining them.”129
mixed-gender schools.123

124 National Committee on Pay Equity. “Wage Gap Remains Static.” http://www.pay-equity.org/
125 Gary Fountain. “Study Shows Benefits of All-Girls Schools.” Richmond Times Dispatch,
April 20 2009. http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/opinion/commentary/article/FOUN-
TAIN426_20090424-200214/263675/
126 BBC News. “Girls’ School Women ‘Earn More.’” September 22, 2006. http://news.bbc.
co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/5370970.stm
127 BBC News. “Girls’ School Women ‘Earn More.’” September 22, 2006. http://news.bbc.
co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/5370970.stm
128 BBC News. “Girls’ School Women ‘Earn More.’” September 22, 2006. http://news.bbc.
co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/5370970.stm
123 BBC News. “Girls’ School Women ‘Earn More.’” September 22, 2006. http://news.bbc. 129 The National Coalition of Girls Schools. “The Benefits of Attending a Girls School.” http://
co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/5370970.stm www.ncgs.org/aboutgirlsschools/thereasearch/careeraspirations/

58 Serious Play for Serious Girls Serious Play for Serious Girls 59
The Case for Girls’ Schools

“95% of recent graduates said that having a career


and profession was very or extremely important to
them.”130
“78% added that it was very or extremely important
that they hold leadership positions in their professional
lives as well.”131
“73% also said that it was very or extremely important
that they win recognition for their career successes,
community service, and volunteer activities.”132

For what is done or


learned by one class of
women becomes, by
virtue of their common
womanhood, the
property of all women.
Elizabeth Blackwell,
first US female physician

130  National Coalition of Girls Schools and the Goodman Research Group.  “The Girls’ School
Experience: A Survey of Young Alumnae of Single-Sex Schools.” 2005. www.ncgs.org/uploads/
textWidget/600.00002/documents/2005_NCGS_Young_Alumnae_Survey.pdf
131 National Coalition of Girls Schools and the Goodman Research Group.  “The Girls’ School
Experience: A Survey of Young Alumnae of Single-Sex Schools.” 2005. www.ncgs.org/uploads/
textWidget/600.00002/documents/2005_NCGS_Young_Alumnae_Survey.pdf
132 National Coalition of Girls Schools and the Goodman Research Group.  “The Girls’ School
Experience: A Survey of Young Alumnae of Single-Sex Schools.” 2005. www.ncgs.org/uploads/
textWidget/600.00002/documents/2005_NCGS_Young_Alumnae_Survey.pdf

60 Serious Play for Serious Girls


The Case for Girls’ Schools The Case for Girls’ Schools

“As of March 2009, there were 540 schools operating


in some degree as single gender.”133

“When girls have the classroom to themselves, there’s


a huge payoff in terms of their self-confidence and
academic achievement.”134

“A March 2010 United Nations joint statement


indicates that the international community is beginning
to recognize that girls are a powerful catalyst for
change.”135

133 Eileen Flaherty. “Single Sex Education in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools.”
2009. http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/2009_student_
papers/flaherty_single_sex.pdf
134 Sheila Riley. A Conversation with Meg Moulton, National Coalition of Girls’ Schools . HotCh-
alk, March 2, 2009. http://www.hotchalk.com/mydesk/index.php/editorial/106-leadership/592-a-
conversation-with-meg-moulton-national-coalition-of-girls-schools
135 Kata Fustos. “Accelerating Efforts to Advance the Rights of Adolescent Girls–A UN Joint
Statement .” Population Reference Bureau, http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/
documents/news/2010/joint_statement_adolescentgirls.pdf

62 63
The Case for Girls’ Schools

Serious Play for Serious Girls


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