Gender Inequities

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

- Be aware of your voice, gestures, and body language and the
attitudes that such communications may convey about gender.
- Do not to "talk down" to girls.
- Use questions and comments to encourage girls' thinking skills;
talk with girls about ideas and concepts.
- Call on girls and boys equally.
- Provide equal time to girls.
- Be attentive to girls' requests for help; arrange for math
tutoring clubs, if appropriate.
- Be aware of your math anxieties and convey positive attitudes
and behavior toward mathematics.
- Find out more about students' attitudes by using mathematics
journals and attitude assessments.
- Discuss math anxiety and learned helplessness with girls who
are having problems.
- Reduce the isolation of girls interested in mathematics by
helping them find out about "girls just like me."
- Increase your knowledge of mathematics, and share new knowledge
enthusiastically with students.
- Make independent and small group mathematics experiences
available to all, and encourage girls to participate in such
experiences.
- Design mathematics activities that are fun, relaxed, and
collaborative, and include hands-on work and problem solving, which
often are missing from "school math."
- Start teaching high-level mathematics in primary grades; use
specific terms, such as geometry and probability.
- 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.
- Avoid perpetuating gender bias in your treatment of academic
subjects, skills, daily living tasks, careers, colors, group names,
and so forth.
- 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.
- Provide activities that parallel those of careers in mathematics.

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

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