Most of us here at SheHeroes and those of you who visit our site and read our blog are doing so because we are working hard to help encourage our daughters and the young girls in our lives to break gender stereotypes and strive to be whomever they want to be when they grow up. And there are many organizations, groups and people out there working just as hard to do the same in the classrooms of America. As important as the cause to help girls in school has become in the last 25 years, there has been one unforeseen casualty--boys.
Boys are now struggling to keep up with their female counterparts, and failing. Girls are earning more degrees than boys and studies are showing that more female high school seniors aspire to graduating a four-year college than male high school seniors. There could be many reasons for the disadvantage boys seem to now have in the classroom. Including a few that have been floated around in discussions on the web, but one reason that seems to really stand out is the lack of male teachers at the elementary school level. This could play a huge part in the difficulties boys face in school. Positive male influences are vital for young boys who we want to see grow up to be healthy, successful and driven young men. And at the elementary age it’s vital for boys (and girls) to be exposed to positive role models from both sexes.
According to “Recuperative Masculinity Politics” (Martino, 2008):"...perceived intensiﬁed feminization of elementary schooling and the anxieties it incites for men doing women’s work represents another example of defensive masculinity with educational policy and the public media responding in ways which present men as victims who are in need of affirmative action initiatives to increase their presence in a female-dominated world where boys are being deprived of suitable role models.” (Martino, 2008, p.192)
It can also be said that having more men involved in programs such as the PTA can have a positive impact on young boys as well.
Take a moment and let us know in the comments what you think about this epidemic.
What are some of the ways we can start to correct the lack of male teachers? Are there male teachers at your child’s elementary school and do you feel that they have a positive influence? How do you think positive male role models impact a boy's view of girls and women?