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Gender Issues

"Because with boys failure is attributed to external factors and success is attributed to ability, they keep their confidence, even with failure. With girls it's just the opposite. Because their success is attributed to good luck or hard work and failure to lack of ability, with every failure, girls' confidence is eroded. All this works in subtle ways to stop girls from wanting to be astronauts and brain surgeons. Girls can't say why they ditch their dreams, they just "mysteriously" lose interest." Mary Pipher, Reviving Ophelia : Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

See also: Gifted Students at Risk, English Language Learners (ESL)

Special Populations in Gifted Education: Understanding Our Most Able Students From Diverse Backgrounds Recommended by Jaime A. Castellano and Andrea Dawn Frazier (or from Amazon)
Leading experts in the field combine their knowledge of and leadership experience with gifted students from diverse backgrounds to help include historically underrepresented students in gifted education programs that serve our most able students. Raises the awareness level and knowledge base of all educators, particularly teachers of the gifted, with focus on topics such as gifted education in rural environments, highly gifted learners, twice-exceptional children, gifted females, gifted and talented students on the autism spectrum, English language learners, underachievement, and students from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds...
Adventures and Challenges: Real Life Stories by Girls and Young Women by Frances A. Karnes and Suzanne M. Bean
Stories of girls and young women who have pursued their quests for adventure and exemplified positive risk taking in both the mental and physical domains
American Association of University Women
Several articles and research studies concerning girls and education...
Boys & Girls Learn Differently in the Classroom and More Boys, Girls, & Different Brains, and Longer Times to Process
First the good news: One year with a male English teacher would eliminate nearly a third of the gender gap in reading performance among 13-year-olds.  Now the bad: Having a male teacher improves the performance of boys while harming girls' reading skills. On the other hand, a year with a female teacher would close the gender gap in science achievement among 13-year-old girls by half and eliminate the smaller achievement gap in mathematics...  Links to Washington Post article and original research
Dear diary: don't be alarmed … I'm a boy by Scott Heydt, in Gifted Child Today ($)
Gifted males are sensitive, intelligent, detail-oriented, and creative. Unfortunately these traits are not seen as "manly" among mainstream society. Our gifted males are facing ridicule from peers due to their differences and are experiencing internal struggles as a result. As educators and parents, we can empower our gifted males to use journals to express who they really are in response to mainstream society...
The Dilemma of the Gifted Woman by Kathleen D. Noble
The abilities of highly capable women have rarely received serious recognition, support or guidance.  Although there is increasing interest in attracting women to positions of social, political, educational, and scientific leadership, many obstacles inhibit women from realizing their potential in these areas.  These include: confusion about the meaning and nature of giftedness; psychological and cultural barriers to owning and displaying one's abilities; and ambivalent attitudes of peers, parents, and significant others towards exceptional ability in women... (requires Adobe Reader)
The Emotional Journey of the Gifted and Talented Adolescent Female by Suzanne Blakeley
At 14, our daughter lost a hard fought struggle. Her slow descent into depression began during fourth grade after our family's relocation... Once self-confident and happy, she became filled with anxiety and frustration by the end of middle school. In ninth grade Sarah was haunted by rapid thoughts, and sleepless nights. Her tremendous mental energies eventually spiraled inward, settling into a looping, repetitive chant: I'm unacceptable
Encouraging bright girls to keep shining by Dona J. Matthews & Elizabeth M. Smyth
Gifted and talented females face conflicts between their own abilities and the social structure of their world. They confront both external barriers (lack of support from families, stereotyping, and acculturation in home, school, and the rest of society) and internal barriers (self-doubt, self-criticism, lowered expectations, and the attribution of success to effort rather than ability...
External Barriers Experienced by Gifted and Talented Girls & Women by Sally M. Reis (or Highbeam.com
Gifted and talented females face conflicts between their own abilities and the social structure of their world. They confront both external barriers (lack of support from families, stereotyping, and acculturation in home, school, and the rest of society) and internal barriers (self-doubt, self-criticism, lowered expectations, and the attribution of success to effort rather than ability...
Failing at Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls by Myra and David Sadker
Provides shocking evidence of the gender bias that prevents girls from receiving the same education as boys
Feeling Boys and Thinking Girls: Talented Adolescents and Their Teachers by Jane Piirto
The MBTI was administered to 226 gifted and talented tenth and eleventh graders. Sixty teachers of the talented and 25 elementary and high school teachers were also administered the MBTI. Talented teens preferred ENFP. Gender differences were calculated as well among artistic youth and academically talented youth. Male artistic youth preferred F and academic females preferred T. Teachers of the talented preferred ENFJ. Other teachers preferred ESFJ. Implications for teaching these students are discussed...
Gender and Genius by Barbara Kerr
Gifted boys and girls need to learn to cope with their giftedness while careful1y following prescribed gender roles if they want to avoid the rejection of their communities. How were these gender roles shaped, and how did we get our ideas about what gifted girls and gifted boys should be like?
Gender and Giftedness by Barbara A. Kerr and Megan Foley Nicpon
Both gifted girls and gifted boys experience conflicts between gender identity and achievement motivation. These conflicts can prevent gifted young people from attaining the education they need, from following through on career goals, and from forming satisfying and healthy relationships. Social pressure to attain ideals of masculinity and femininity often works against the development of talent in young people. An understanding of gender and giftedness can help counselors to guide young people through the critical “milestones and danger zones” in which the fulfillment of talent is threatened by gender socialization... (RTF file)
Gender Differences in Abilities and Preferences Among the Gifted: Implications for the Math / Science Pipeline by David Lubinski and Camilla P. Benbow
Recent studies on gender differences in cognitive functioning have reported that males and females are converging toward a common mean on a variety of abilities...  In mathematically gifted samples, disparate male / female proportions are well known... The resulting proportion of males to females at various cutting scores on the SAT-M was approximately as follows: SAT-M >= 500, 2/1; SAT-M >= 600, 4/1; SAT-M >= 700.  The effect of these disparate ratios for the math / science pipeline is clear: a greater number of males than females will qualify for advanced training in disciplines that place a premium on mathematical reasoning... (requires Adobe, long load time)
Gender Issues in Computer Science Education by Davies, Klawe, Ng, Nyhus, and Sullivan
This paper aims to first understand why there is such a significant difference between girls and boys in choosing IT as their careers.  We will then introduce an overall program aiming to understand and tackle the issue of low participation of women in the IT field...
Gender Issues in Gifted Education by Lynn Rose
For whatever reason, gifted females may hold poor perceptions of their mathematics and science abilities...
Gender Differences in High School Students' Attitudes Toward Mathematics in Traditional Versus Cooperative Groups by Lisa A. Drzewiecki and Karen L. Westberg
Recent research indicates that the gap between male and female students' mathematics achievement is gradually beginning to diminish; however...
Giftedness, girls, others, and equity: Theory-based practical strategies for the regular classroom by Dona J. Matthews & Nancy Steinhauer
While suitable for all members of a regular classroom, the suggested strategies are designed to encourage diverse kinds of students - including girls and others who are less likely to develop their high level intellectual abilities - to stay or become engaged with learning...
Girl Prodigies, Some Evidence and Some Speculations by Lynn T. Goldsmith
While the prodigy phenomenon has recently begun to receive attention, the gifts and fates of girl prodigies have largely remained unnoted. This article represents an effort to call attention to the existence of extraordinary talent in young girls by collecting, for the first time, a number of cases of girls' early prodigious achievements...
Girls and Young Women
Hoagies' reading list for girls and young women, fiction and nonfiction titles full of strong female characters and role-models...
Great Books For Girls: More Than 600 Books to Inspire Today's Girls and Tomorrow's Women by Kathleen Odean
A guide for parents and educators looking for books "about girls who defy the stereotypes about females in our culture." Her work introduces 600 titles, ranging from picture-story books for toddlers to biographies and novels for adolescents that depict girls and women who are self-sufficient, decisive, and assertive.
And Great Books for Boys by Kathleen Odean
One of the things that many boys give up on their way to manhood is a love of reading." This thoughtfully compiled annotated bibliography gives parents, teachers, and librarians strategies to help prevent this loss. Titles are organized by reader age and genre.
Influences of Gender on Academic Achievement by Miriam R. Linver, Pamela E. Davis-Kean and Jacquelynne S. Eccles
For both boys and girls, math grades fall over the course of junior high and high school. Young women achieve at comparable or higher levels in math as males, but their interest especially for the high achieving females, is the same or lower than males. Our results, also, suggest that for young men in higher-level math tracks, math interest is much more strongly related to math school grades than for young women in the same math courses...
Internal barriers, personal issues, and decisions faced by gifted and talented females by Sally Reis
Research with talented females has revealed a number of internal barriers, personal priorities, and decisions that have consistently emerged as the reasons that many either cannot or do not realize their potential. These barriers, priorities, and personal decisions were identified in hundreds of interviews conducted with girls and women at various ages, stages across the life span and in a variety of occupations ...
In the Eyes of the Beholder: Critical Issues for Diversity in Gifted Education edited by Diane Boothe and Julian C. Stanley (or from Amazon)
How does gifted education serve special populations, including a variety of culturally diverse populations? How does education deal with these children today, and how can we improve their education?  How do gender and/or socio-economic diversity affect gifted education?
Keeping Their Talents Alive: Young Women's Assessment of Radical, Post-Secondary Acceleration by Kathleen Noble and Raina Smith
One way [to reverse the trend of women being underrepresented in technical and scientific careers] is to create an accelerated educational environment where females do not have to downplay their intellectuality to be accepted by peers... (requires Adobe Reader)
Many Gifted Girls, Few Eminent Women. Why? by Anita Gurian
Are their talents being identified, encouraged, or ignored? This second in a series of articles dealing with gifted children focuses on possible reasons why giftedness in many girls fades as they grow older
The math gap: MIT economists find a new reason to think that environment, not innate ability, determines how well girls do in math class by Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office
Not only that girls are a small minority of elite high school math students, but also that the prevalence of high-achieving girls in math varies from school to school. Indeed, in research Ellison found that the best female math students across the U.S. come from a tiny number of institutions. The majority of the girls who have been chosen to represent the U.S. in international mathematics competitions come from a set of about 20 high schools with elite math teams. This extreme concentration of talent strongly indicates the crucial role that environmental factors, not just innate ability, play in shaping the accomplishments of students...
My Gifted Girl
Provides gifted and talented girls and women a community of support and inspiration, serving as a resource for parents, educators, mentors and those that seek to support the gifted and talented women of today and the future...
Kathleen Noble  interview by Douglas Eby
...thinking about role models for women in popular culture, I was really disgusted.  ...is always self-awareness, which is not narcissism. And for gifted women, that absolutely includes the recognition of giftedness, because most women who are gifted, as you well know, think they're freaks, and feel horribly different -- isolated, alienated, ostracized, 'What's wrong with me?'
Primed for Numbers by Rich Monasterky, The Chronicles of Higher Education
Are boys born better at math? Experts try to divide the influences of nature and nurture.  Lawrence H. Summers, president of Harvard University, had said that "intrinsic" differences in aptitude between the sexes might be an important reason that men dominate the science-and-engineering work force.  Researchers who study gender differences say Mr. Summers's emphasis on innate aptitude simply doesn't add up...
Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William S. Pollack
While not specifically about gifted children, Pollack addresses the issues around boys who are not "typical" for various reasons
Remarkable Women: Perspectives on Female Talent Development Kathleen D. Noble, Rena F. Subotnik, Karen D. Arnold
Consolidates and expands... "on the existing knowledge about highly capable women, and the internal and external forces that lead them to extraordinary adult accomplishments." (requires Adobe Reader)
Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher
If you have a gifted girl approaching or in the teen years, you should read this book, and perhaps have her read it, and discuss it together
and the clever response Ophelia Speaks: Adolescent Girls Write About Their Search for Self by Sara Shandler
...reveals telling portraits of teenage girls in this book, a compilation of essays, poems, and true-grit commentary from a cross section of teenage girls (or Ophelias), throughout the country. The book succeeds because it gives voice to their deepest concerns and their too-often frenzied lives
A Sense of Self: Listening to Homeschooled Adolescent Girls by Susannah Sheffer
It is not that homeschooling per se protects a girl, but that its a different picture among girls "whose homeschooling was characterized by a high degree of choice, autonomy, and control"
Sex Differences in Mathematical Reasoning Ability at Age 13: Their Status 20 Years Later by Camilla Persson Benbow, David Lubinski, Daniel L. Shea, and Hossain Eftekhari-Sanjani
Follow-up of mathematically gifted adolescents whose earlier assessments revealed robust gender differences in mathematical reasoning ability.  Both genders became exceptional achievers.  Earlier sex differences in math ability did predict differential education and occupational outcomes.  Profile differences in abilities and preferences are longitudinally stable... (requires Adobe Reader)
Smart Boys: Talent, Manhood, and the Search for Meaning Recommended by Barbara A. Kerr
This book is filled with many suggestions for parents and teachers to help smart boys stay smart, as well as thought-provoking insights for gifted men
Smart Girls: A New Psychology of Girls, Women, and Giftedness Recommended by Barbara A. Kerr
Incorporates all of the information in Kerr's earlier two books, and also provides newer research...
Social and emotional issues faced by gifted girls in elementary and secondary school by Sally M. Reis
Research with talented girls and women has revealed a number of personality factors, personal priorities, and social emotional issues that have consistently emerged as contributing reasons that many either cannot or do not realize their potential...
The Structure of Abilities in Math-Precocious Young Children: Gender Similarities and Differences by Nancy M. Robinson
For this study of the organization of cognitive abilities and gender differences in young children advanced in mathematical reasoning... Boys scored higher on 8 of 11 quantitative measures, 0 of 3 verbal measures, and 1 of 3 spatial measures...  (requires Adobe Reader)
A Teacher Like Me: Does Race, Ethnicity, or Gender Matter? by Thomas S. Dee
The results indicate that the racial, ethnic, and gender dynamics between students and teachers have consistently large effects on teacher perceptions of student performance. However, the effects associated with race and ethnicity appear to be concentrated among students of low socioeconomic status and those in the South. Since these teacher perceptions are clearly likely to influence educational opportunities as well as the classroom environment, this evidence implies that these classroom interactions make important contributions to the observed demographic gaps in student achievement...
Team awaits launch of student-designed satellites by Terry Costlow, EE Times
Most of the satellites on board the rocket scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force base in Lompoc, Calif., this Friday (Oct. 15) are large units made by skilled professionals. But three, so tiny they're called "picosatellites," were built by an unlikely team: six women who were seniors at the University of Santa Clara at the time
Ten Tips for Raising Girls by Sylvia Rimm
help stimulate the development of girls' self-esteem and confidence...
To thine own self be true, A new model of female talent development by Kathleen D. Noble, Rena F. Subotnik, and Karen D. Arnold
An innovative model of female talent development based upon the life experiences of gifted women from a wide variety of backgrounds and talent domains, synthesized from original studies contributed by more than 20 scholars, psychologists, and educators. Issues addressed by this model are the personal, professional, and cultural challenges common in gifted females as well as strategies for coping with them, spheres of influence and achievement to which gifted women aspire, and ways to help gifted women and girls identify and actualize their talents and gifts...
Understanding and Raising Boys a PBS Parents Guide
Discover how to help your boy feel confident, succeed in school, and grow up resilient and responsible.  Read it all, especially Boys in School: Is school a bad fit for boys? Learn how to help boys adjust to school and schools adjust to boys...
Using biography to counsel gifted young men by Thomas P. Hébert
...focuses on four issues confronting bright young men: underachievement, self-inflicted pressure in athletics, cultural alienation, and father-son relationships. The author proposes the use of biography as a counseling strategy through which bright young men may gain helpful insights to deal with the problems they face...
What Math Gender Gap? by Laura Vanderkam
For all of the noise, young women are going into some sciences. Women earn 46% of biology Ph.D.s. They fill more than half of incoming medical school classes. It's just that their proportion in pure physical sciences, while rising, remains low. But physics isn't tougher than biophysics, which suggests that these choices have little to do with aptitude or confidence. In fact, studies suggest girls simply don't view pure math and physics as practical or varied enough to justify the slog to professorship...
What's a Girl to Read?  by Justine Henning, New York Times
If you don't want to read about sex and drugs — or don't want your kids reading about them — young adult fiction can look like a minefield. Publishers rarely give age guidance on these novels, though online booksellers are sometimes more helpful; be forewarned that if the rating is "young adult" or "14 and up," that often means sexual content. Yet it's possible to avoid the thinly imagined characters, as well as the reckless, credit-card-reliant behavior, of teenage chick lit and find many superb novels for girls...
Women and Mathematics from Swarthmore College
History and articles on the topic, and organizations supporting women in mathematics
Women and Talent Rocamora School
"To encourage more expression of the multiple talents of all gifted women"
And don't miss Rocomora's Teen / young adult talent resources
Why fewer women succeed in math by Nancy J. White,
Innate career leanings, not inferior ability, prompt calculating females to shun calculus, study finds.  The study also explains a glitch in the gender gap. Among those who score at the top of the heap in math, the girls also tend to excel verbally while the boys don't. Hence they have more choices, career-wise. Advantage: girls. "For the boys with high math ability, it's `This is my strength,'" explains the study's lead author, Stephen Ceci. "For the high-math girls, it's `This is one of my strengths.'"

Last updated December 01, 2020

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