Sameness and Difference. The Dilemma of Gender Equity in Education

Rosemary Salomone


Over the past decade, the topic of single-sex schooling has become the subject of heated debate in the United State among policymakers and scholars across the political spectrum, defying conventional political labels. Proponents point to a real educational equity for girls improving overall academic achievement or contends that coeducation fails to adequately recognize the range of learning styles and emotional needs both for girls and boys, firstly for minorities.

Opponents contend that separation does not breed the mutual respect and understanding that place women on an equal footing with men. As a matter of fact, there is a growing recognition that schools are not the bastions of male privileges that the gender equity project assumed. The literature is telling us that boys are not faring as well as believed. Churning through these disparate developments is the dilemma of sameness and difference and the implicit questions regarding gender equity and single-sex programs. Is it the gender separation itself that makes single-sex schooling more appropriate than coeducation at least for some students? The article studies the conflicting arguments, with some of its implications for policy and practice.


Key Words: Development of women and men, coeducation, single-sex schools.

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