Gender Inequities

Teachers and administrators can use the following strategies to reduce or eliminate gender inequities in mathematics:

  1. Be aware of your voice, gestures, and body language and the attitudes that such communications may convey about gender.

  2. Do not to "talk down" to girls.

  3. Use questions and comments to encourage girls' thinking skills; talk with girls about ideas and concepts.

  4. Call on girls and boys equally.

  5. Provide equal time to girls.

  6. Be attentive to girls' requests for help; arrange for math tutoring clubs, if appropriate.

  7. Be aware of your math anxieties and convey positive attitudes and behavior toward mathematics.

  8. Find out more about students' attitudes by using mathematics journals and attitude assessments.

  9. Discuss math anxiety and learned helplessness with girls who are having problems.

  10. Reduce the isolation of girls interested in mathematics by helping them find out about "girls just like me."

  11. Increase your knowledge of mathematics, and share new knowledge enthusiastically with students.

  12. Make independent and small group mathematics experiences available to all, and encourage girls to participate in such experiences.

  13. Design mathematics activities that are fun, relaxed, and collaborative, and include hands-on work and problem solving, which often are missing from "school math."

  14. Start teaching high-level mathematics in primary grades; use specific terms, such as geometry and probability.

  15. Encourage girls to take high-level mathematics courses, especially at critical decision-making times. For example, girls should take algebra and geometry - the "gatekeeper courses" - in seventh and eighth grades and pursue still more advanced courses in ninth and tenth grades.

  16. Avoid perpetuating gender bias in your treatment of academic subjects, skills, daily living tasks, careers, colors, group names, and so forth.

  17. Put girls in touch with female mathematicians, scientists, and engineers, so that students can learn more about careers involving mathematics and break down the stereotypes associated with mathematical competence - i.e., reduce the "nerd" factor.

  18. Provide activities that parallel those of careers in mathematics.

(See Kober, 1992; Campbell, l991; American Association of University Women, 1992)


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