‘For the past three years, our research group has been analysing the difference in boys’ and girls’ perceptions of their school experiences. Our study, involving approximately 1,500 pupils at 29 different primary and secondary schools across Wales has uncovered a wealth of information – not least that girls are simply less happy at school than boys,’ says Dr Smith.
‘Nearly 25% of female pupils said they felt worried at school, compared to just 16.5% of the boys; approximately 24% of girls felt like they didn’t “belong” at school, compared to only 8.8% of boys. Additionally, nearly 20% of girls disagreed that their school was a place where “my teachers know me well” compared to 12% of the boys participating. Unfortunately, our participants’ responses don’t improve as they progress in school. These questions were repeated in additional, annual sweeps and the negative responses were not only sustained, but in some cases, increased.’
‘Schools are much more than places to learn, they are also sophisticated sites of social activity’
‘For the female pupils involved in our study, the realities of being a young woman in a patriarchally organised society remain explicitly and implicitly embedded in the social practices of schooling. For example, body image and social media activity are hot-topics linked to pressures that potentially increase girls’ emotional problems. Reactions to these issues often focus on their impact on girls’ lives without acknowledging how perceptions of women’s bodies in society are constructed and reproduced, and schools serve as an apparatus in this process.’
‘Though official attempts are being made to close the “gender gap”, greater effort must be made to understand and improve pupils’ (especially girls’) social experience and well-being at school.’
The full article from The Conversation can be read here.