The Relationship Between Type of Schooling (single-sex Vs. Co-educational) and Gender Roles
|The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:|
Ferney, B. E. & Domingue, A. (2001). The Relationship Between Type of Schooling (single-sex Vs. Co-educational) and Gender Roles. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 4. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved December 9, 2023
BROOKE FERNEY & AIMEE DOMINGUE
-NONE- DEPARTMENT OF
Sponsored by: MUKUL BHALLA (email@example.com)
|This study looked at the type of secondary schooling and how it affected gender views among 18-24 years old college students. 17 males and 21 females who attended single-sex schools, and 21 males and 39 females who attended co-educational high schools participated. This was a 2x2 between subjects design, using a demographic questionnaire and the Bem Sex Role Inventory to gather results. The independent variables were gender and type of schooling, and the dependent variable was how liberal or traditional gender views were. It was hypothesized that males who attended single-sex high schools and females who attended co-educational high schools would have traditional gender views. It was also hypothesized that females who attended single-sex schools and males who attended co-educational schools would have liberal gender views. The results showed that there were no gender differences, no school differences, and no interaction between the two. |
INTRODUCTION Welcome to the Sexual Revolution! Though we are moving ever closer to gender equality in our society, there still remains a gap between genders. Gender can be defined as “The attributes, behaviors, personality characteristics, and expectancies associated with a person’s sex in a given culture” (Baron and Byrne, 2000). Yes, males and females are very different in their biological make-up, but how different are they when it comes to the gender views they abide by? Why is it that some females prefer sports over makeup, or that some males prefer writing poetry to getting into brawls at the local bar? There are many levels of femininity and masculinity within an individual. Some females may even display more traditionally defined masculine characteristics such as assertiveness, confidence, and independence than they do traditional female characteristics such as submissiveness, timidity, and dependence.From the day we were born, the formation of our gender roles began to occur. Think back to the pink blanket mom received at her shower if you were a girl or the cute, baby blue jumper she got if you were a boy. Even then, the reinforcement of gender roles was in effect. This process has continued with us throughout our lives from kindergarten to grade school to high school. How does one’s schooling shape their gender views? Does it affect a male or female’s gender views if he or she attended an all-boys or an all-girls school versus a co-educational school? Do their views tend to be more liberal or more traditional? In Mael’s (1998) review, Mahoney (1985) stated, “there is evidence that in [co-educational] schools, boys monopolize physical space, linguistic space, and the attention of teachers.” How does that affect the gender views of the girls in the same institution? It is speculated that the lack of attention and opportunity these females are receiving inherently implies that their educational needs are not being met, either because the males tend to dominate the classroom “linguistic space” thus not allowing female students to talk in class or ask questions, or because teachers tend to neglect the females in the classroom and focus on the males. As a result, females may be made to feel subordinate to their male peers. They may develop roles that tend to be more traditional, like timidity. Timidity may result from the fact that if a female asks a “stupid” question, she may be scoffed at by her male peers. Better yet, what if a female student is nervous around members of the opposite sex? She may refrain from asking a question that is imperative to her understanding of a concept in class because she is too shy around males. This leads us to ask if it benefits a female to attend a single-sex high school over a co-educational one. A study conducted in Ireland by Granslee and Joseph (1993) addressed this very question. They found that girls who attended single-sex high schools were less critical of their behaviors than those who attended co-educational high schools. They found that this “lack of criticism was the best predictor of global self-worth in the all girls’ school…in the mixed-sex school, physical appearance was the single best predictor of degree of global self-worth” (Haag, 1998). The girls’ priorities, whether they be physical appearance or otherwise, in each of these institutions suggest there is gender role formation at work. In the co-educational environments, females tended to be more concerned with the way they look, whereas females from the single-sex environment tended to be less focused on their looks. This is most probably a result of the lack of male presence. This need to look good for men is enforcing a traditional feminine stereotype. This stereotype tends to be absent from the single-sex environment thus suggesting that their gender views are more liberal when looking at appearance maintenance. Similarly, Leder and Forgasz (1994) conducted a case study on single-sex mathematics classes in a co-educational setting. Their population was grade tenth students with a sample size of 25 females and 29 males. When the students were asked why they thought they were placed in single-sex classrooms, “the boys thought girls were ‘distracted’ by boys; boys ‘intimidated’ girls or ‘stopped girls from learning’’ and that teachers thought boys ‘got more attention’” (Leder & Forgasz, 1994). The girls, on other hand, “spoke of being too ‘embarrassed’ to ask questions, of being ‘harassed’ by the boys, of ‘annoyance,’ of ‘being made fun of’ and…[the boys’] ‘distraction of the class’ (1994).” When the students were asked if they would choose single-sex classes again, 52% of the boys said that they would not, and 92% of the girls said that they would. When asked why they missed having girls in their classes, boys said that they missed the “girls’ sensitivity and friendship…and the girls’ ability to help them” (1994). Each of the qualities that the males listed in missing the girls were qualities associated with traditional female gender roles. Characteristics like helpfulness, sensitivity, and friendship are all forms of nurturing behavior, which is a behavior traditionally associated with females. Along the same lines, Astin (1977), though he did not research single-sex high schools, did research single-sex colleges. His population was 200,000 students from 300 colleges. He interviewed both females and males when they entered college and between 1 and 10 years after they left college. Astin found that “the single-sex college experience accounted for greater academic involvement, more interaction with faculty, higher intellectual self-esteem, and greater satisfaction with college life (except for social life with men)” (Lee and Marks, 1990). Women from this single-sex environment tended to show more “verbal aggressiveness.” This is significant because verbal aggressiveness would traditionally be defined as a male characteristic. Males from this college tended to pursue careers in law, business, and university teaching. Note that the career paths chosen by the males are not out of character when looking at traditional male roles. Each of these studies made the point that, overall, single-sex education was more beneficial to women in that it allowed them to express themselves more freely. These studies implied that single-sex education gave the females involved a stronger sense of confidence and identity. The males in these studies, on the other hand, seemed to prefer co-educational environments to single-sex educational environments. The results of these past studies are in relation to the present study because the past results support the present study’s hypothesis. They confer that single-sex schools allow girls access to self-expression. This, in turn, allows these girls to develop more self-awareness. In the present study, it was hypothesized that girls who attended single-sex high schools tended to hold more liberal gender views. It was also hypothesized that boys who attended co-educational high schools tended to hold more liberal views than those boys who attended single-sex high schools. This is a 2 x 2 between subjects, quasi-experimental design. The independent variables are the type of secondary schooling (single-sex high school or co-educational high school) one has had and the sex of the student, and the dependent variable is how liberal or traditional the students’ gender roles are based on their type of schooling (single-sex or co-educational high schools). The reason it was hypothesized that girls who attended single-sex high schools would have more liberal gender views was because these girls did not have the sexual politics most co-educational high schools have. They did not have to worry about impressing males with their physical appearance as was mentioned in the Granslee & Joseph (1993) study, nor did they have to worry about being harassed by males when they asked questions in class as was mentioned in the Leder & Forgasz (1994) study. It provided an environment that allowed these girls to freely express themselves and develop their individuality outside the traditional, social construct of the gender hierarchy. It was hypothesized that girls who attended co-educational high schools tended to hold more traditional gender views due to the fact that these girls were in an environment that was typically male dominant. Sexual politics within co-educational environments tend to work more in favor of the males just as the Mahoney (1985) study suggested. For example, the football team needs new uniforms, so do the cheerleaders. Who most likely gets the funding? In most American high schools, the football team does. This clearly illustrates how the gender hierarchy within co-educational environments works. As far as the boys were concerned, it was hypothesized that boys who attended single-sex high schools tended to hold more traditional gender views. This was hypothesized because it was believed that all-boy high schools tended to endorse the ideal of male dominance. This type of education excludes females. This exclusion can lead these males to further promote segregation of the sexes. This can overlap into the workplace of the real world. After being exposed to a predominantly male environment for the duration of their forming years in high school, these males may see females as unable assimilate in the workplace. Finally, it was hypothesized that males who attended co-educational high schools tended to be more well-rounded. This was because males within co-educational high schools seemed to realize the importance of having females integrated into the societal hierarchy. Though they dominated the hierarchy, they still recognized the importance of sharing the learning space with females. They interacted with these females on a daily basis, and as a result, tended to appreciate the girls’ presence and worked to communicate with them.
METHODParticipantsThe participants consisted of 98 Loyola students (17 males and 21 females who attended single-sex high schools and 21 males and 39 females who attended co-educational high schools). The participants were between the ages of 18 years and 24 years. The researchers distributed surveys to helpful professors, who handed them out to their classes. All the classes except one consisted mainly of the psychology department subject pool. The students were given a survey with an attached consent form. Some students received course credit for participating and others merely volunteered. The participants were gathered using convenience and quota sampling. Materials One consent form was distributed to the participants. They were not asked to sign it, nor were they asked to return it. It was merely for their benefit. It was to inform them to some degree what the study was about. A slight bit of deception was involved in the study due to the fact that the researchers did not want the participants knowing that gender roles were what were being studied. The researchers did not ask for the consent form back because this study was completely anonymous. It asked questions of a highly personal nature, and as a result, the researchers decided to refrain from asking for any type of identification. The participants were given a questionnaire to fill out consisting of two parts. The first part was 15 mainly demographic questions asking about the individual’s gender, age, type of schooling, etc. as well as questions about how the participants related to the opposite sex (see Appendix A). Some questions included were the following: “Who typically pays for the date? Male or female?”, “Who typically drives the car on a date? Male or female?”, “Is it okay for a girl to call a guy for a date? Yes or no?”, etc. The second part of the questionnaire consisted of the Bem Sex Role Inventory. The Bem Sex Role Inventory (Bem,1970) was used to measure the amount of femininity, masculinity, or androgyny within an individual. It consists of 51 adjectives. Seventeen of these adjectives were feminine in nature, another seventeen were masculine in nature, and the last seventeen were neutral, that is not possessing traits of a masculine or feminine nature. The participants were asked to rate how these adjectives applied to them on a 1-7 point scale (1 being never true and 7 being always true) (See Appendix A). Manila envelopes were used to contain the completed surveys as to ensure anonymity and confidentiality of the participants. According to Baron and Byrne (2000),in the "Bem Sex Roel Inventory," “masculinity tends to be associated with more positive outcomes than femininity.” The participants were asked to rate themselves on each of these characteristics on a one point (being never true) to seven points (being always true) scale. If the score was high in the feminine category and low in the masculine category, the participant was said to be “feminine” in his/her sex roles. If the score was high in the masculine category and low in the feminine category, the participant was said to be “masculine” in his/her sex roles. If the score was low in the feminine and masculine category, the participant was said to be undifferentiated in his/her gender roles. If the score was high in both the masculine and feminine, the participant was said to be androgynous. In the second part of the survey, the participants were also asked to answer questions that inferred what their gender roles were. These were questions could be answered with a “yes” or a “no” or answered with “male” or “female (see Appendix A).” Since the researchers needed approximately 25 females from single-sex high schools, 25 females from co-ed high schools, 25 males from single-sex high schools, and 25 males from co-ed high schools all between the ages of 18 and 24, it was necessary to implement certain controls. If the participant was over or under the age requirement, the survey was thrown out. If the participant marked that he/she had attended both a single-sex and co-educational high school for equal amounts of time, the survey was thrown out. If the participant attended a single-sex high school for 3 or more years, the survey was placed in the single-sex schooling category. If the participant attended a co-educational high school for 3 or more years, the survey was place in the co-educational schooling category.Design and Procedure This was a 2 x 2 between subjects quasi-experimental design because the researchers had no control over and hence could not randomly assign the levels of the 2 independent variables of sex and type of secondary schooling. The independent variables were sex and type of secondary schooling (single-sex high school or co-educational high school). Single-sex schooling was operationally defined as a school where the whole student population is either all male or all female. Co-educational schooling is operationally defined as a school where the whole student population is made up of both females and males. The dependent variable is gender roles. Gender roles are operationally defined by Bem as having four formulations: 1) masculine 2) feminine 3) both (androgynous) & 4) neither (undifferentiated). The researchers used the Bem Sex Role Inventory and 15 mainly demographic questions as their measurement of gender role formation. They distributed these two-part surveys to two psychology professors with the intent that the professors would issue them to their students. The professors co-operated with the researchers and issued the surveys to their classes. The students were asked to take the surveys home, fill them out, and bring them back to class. The researchers went to the class the day the survey was due, collected the surveys, and debriefed the participants. The surveys were immediately placed in a manila envelope as to ensure confidentiality. They told them what was being studied: the correlation between type of secondary schooling and gender roles. The researchers also informed the participants that the hypothesis was that girls who attended single-sex high schools tended to hold more liberal views, girls who attended co-educational high schools tended to hold more traditional views, boys who attended single-sex schools tended to hold more traditional views, and finally, boys who attended co-educational high schools tended to hold more liberal views. They were given the address and phone number of the psychology department in case they had any concerns or questions for the researchers. The researchers also asked an ethics professor if he would distribute the surveys to his class. His class was chosen because it had a large population of males. He let the researchers come to his class. The researchers issued the surveys themselves. They provided very little information about what was being studied in the consent form. When addressing the participants, however, no information was provided. They were simply asked to fill out the survey. The researchers waited 20 minutes for the participants to complete the survey. The surveys were then handed back to the researchers and directly placed into a manila envelope as to ensure the confidentiality of the participants. The researchers debriefed these participants in the same manner they debriefed those of the psychology undergraduate subject pool.
RESULTS People who attended co-educational high schools tended to have higher masculinity. The interaction of the masculinity/femininity factor and type of schooling was statistically significant as shown by the two-way Analysis of Variance test (f (1,94) = 4.452), p = .038, eta squared = .045). There was no significance in the femininity levels between single-sex and co-educational high schools. There did, however, exist a statistically significant difference in the masculinity score for single-sex and co-educational high schools. For the averages of single-sex high schools, the masculinity average was (M = 86.1, SD = 12.2), and the femininity average was (M = 85.9, SD = 10.1). For the averages of co-educational high schools, the masculinity average was (M = 91.2, SD = 12), and the femininity average was (M = 87.1, SD = 9.7). The within factor of masculinity and femininity was statistically significant. For femininity, the averages were (M = 85.3, SD =10.5), and for masculinity, the averages were (M = 89.2, SD = 12.3). The overall total for masculinity was 89.2, and the overall total for femininity was 85.2. A two-way Analysis of Variance test showed significant differences (f (1, 94) = 5.744, p = .019, eta squared = .058). For the between subjects variable of sex and type of schooling, no significant results were found. There were no significant results for sex differences, school differences, or interaction of the two.
DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to determine if there was in fact a relationship between type of schooling and gender views. The results showed that there were no significant results between levels of femininity in co-educational vs. single-sex high schools. There were, however, significant results found within the males. The males who attended co-educational high schools tended to have higher levels of masculinity than those who attended single-sex high schools. This was contradictory to the hypothesis, which predicted that males who attended single-sex high schools would in fact have higher levels of masculinity than those who attended co-educational high schools. It was expected males attending single-sex schools would be more masculine due to the fact that these males were in all-male environment, where male domination would be promoted. Upon reflection of the results, perhaps, the pressures of being “masculine” in a co-educational environment were more prominent due to the female companionship and the competition for this companionship. This study was not supported by the results of the previous studies’ hypotheses. In Mahoney’s (1985) study, the boys were said to dominate the classroom settings. There appears, within this present study, to be nothing of that sort occurring. Instead, females within the co-educational group appear to be slightly more liberal than their single-sex counterparts. In Granslee and Joseph’s (1993) study, it was found that girls within co-educational environments tend to be more traditional in their gender views. In the present study, however, there really was no significance between gender views and type of schooling among young women. In the study conducted by Leder and Forgasz, girls were said to perform better when taken from co-educational classes and put into single-sex mathematics classes. Perhaps, this does not relate to our study since it is more concerned with academic achievement of the girls rather than with their gender roles. Lastly, Astin (1977) conducted a study on single-sex colleges and found that females who attended single-sex colleges tended to demonstrate more stereotypically defined, masculine traits, and males who attended single-sex colleges tended to adhere to the stereotypes of their own gender by pursuing more typically male-dominated, career paths. Perhaps, this did not support our study because this study was conducted based on types of colleges rather than types of secondary schooling. The main weakness of this study was how small the sample size was. If the study had more participants, it is possible that the results might have supported the alternative hypothesis, and found relationships between type of schooling and gender views. Also, another factor that might have skewed results was the factor that two of the seventeen male participants were homosexual, meaning that by nature of their sexual orientation, their gender views were already considered liberal. This study could be improved and elaborated upon for future research. With a larger sample size and a change of the dependent variable, results might actually show a significant relationship between gender and type of schooling. I might change the dependent variable of gender views to academic performance. In other words, instead of looking at gender views among males and females in co-educational versus single-sex institutions, I might look at their academic performance. Perhaps, both females and males do better academically in a single-sex environment than they do in a co-educational one. This study may, in fact, endorse the strengths of single-sex secondary education. The implication of this study is that the formation of gender roles is very important in a society that is still striving for equality among the sexes. Females must be allowed to discover their own identities free from ridicule or discrimination of males. It is not being suggested that there be total isolation of the sexes, for integration is just as important. What was being investigated was whether or not single-sex or co-educational high schools helped to instill a more confident and liberal attitude toward members of the opposite sex. In their forming years, females should be allowed to become self-aware in terms of their intellectual potential and their freedom to possess the traditionally defined masculine standards of ambition. As far as males are concerned, in their forming years they should become aware of females’ abilities to excel in fields of typical male endeavors. They should also recognize their female counterparts as equals, who are capable of success and competition. Theoretically, this study contributed to its psychological body of research by further addressing the ongoing debate between the sexes. It brought to the public’s attention the gender hierarchies that exist not only within our societies, but also within our schools. It seemed to show that as time progresses, gender views are beginning to neutralize. The higher levels of masculinity demonstrated even in the females suggest that we are becoming more androgynous on the whole. It would appear that schools, regardless of being single-sex or co-educational, are promoting equality of the sexes. The higher levels of masculinity suggest that our society has begun to stray away from the stereotypes of gender and has realized that females are capable of levels of success that were traditionally defined as solely masculine attributes.
REFERENCESBaron, A. & Byrne, D. (2000). Social Psychology,195, 203.Bem, S. (1970). Bem sex role inventory.Haag, P. (1998). K-12 Single-sex education: What does the research say? Champagne, IL: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED444758) Leder, C. & Forgasz, H. J. (1994, April). Single-sex mathematics classes in a co-educationalsetting: A case study. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.Lee, V. E. & Marks, H. M. (1990) Sustained effectsof the single-sex secondary school experience on attitudes, behaviors, and values in college. Journal of Educational Psychology, 579.Mael, F. A. (1998) Single-sex and coeducational schooling: Relationships to socioemotionaland academic development. [Review of Mahoney (1985)] Review of Educational Research, 105.
APPENDIX APlease take 20 minutes to provide us with the following information about yourself on this page and the next:
1. Age —————years
2. Sex (circle one): M F
3. Major ——————————
4. Year (circle one): FR SO JR SR
5. Sexual Orientation (circle one): a) heterosexual b) homosexualc) bisexual 6. Type of secondary schooling (circle one): a) single-sex high schoolb) co-educational high schoolc) both If both, how long did you attend the single-sex high school? _______________ How long did you attend the co-ed high school? ______________
7. Do you prefer sexual relationships to be less of a commitment? a) yes b) no 8. Do you have more friends of the opposite sex than you do friends of the same sex? a) yes b) no9. Do you find relating to the opposite sex difficult? a) yes b) no10. Do you have a desire to relate on a non-sexual level with members of the opposite sex? a) yes b) no11. Who typically pays for dates? a) male b) female12. Who typically drives the car while on a date? a) male b)female13. Is it okay for females to call males for dates? a) yes b) no14. Do you believe a woman who has had multiple sexual partners is of a lowly character? a) yes b) no15. Do you believe a man who has had multiple sexual partners is of a lowly character? a) yes b) no
On the following, please rate yourself on the following characteristics using a 1 (never true) to 7 (always true) scale.1. Self-reliant never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true2. Yielding never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true3. Tactful never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true4. Defends beliefs never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true5. Cheerful never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true6. Independent never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true7. Shy never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true8. Conscientious never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true9. Affectionate never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true10. Theatrical never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true11. Assertive never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true12. Flatterable never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true13. Happy never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true14. Strong personality never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true15. Loyal never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true16. Unpredictable never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true17. Forceful never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true18. Reliable never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true19. Analytical never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true20. Sympathetic never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true21. Jealous never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true22. Has leadership ability never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true23. Sensitive to others’ needs never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true24. Truthful never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true25. Willing to take risks never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true26. Compassionate never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true27. Sincere never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true28. Self-sufficient never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true29. Eager to soothe hurt feelings never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true30. Conceited never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true31. Dominant never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true32. Soft-spoken never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true33. Likable never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true34. Warm never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true35. Solemn never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true36. Willing to take a stand never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true37. Tender never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true38. Friendly never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true39. Aggressive never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true40. Gullible never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true41. Inefficient never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true42. Adaptable never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true43. Individualistic never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true44. Doesn’t use harsh language never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true45. Competitive never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true46. Ambitious never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true47. Gentle never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true48. Conventional never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true49. Understanding never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true50. Secretive never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true51. Makes decisions easily never true 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 always true
Submitted 12/13/2001 11:00:23 AM
Last Edited 12/13/2001 11:43:34 AM
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