All Girl Elementary Schools; the Birth of Empowerment

                                                 Introduction

All girl elementary schools instill self empowerment because they identify academic, social and psychological needs of girls and implement specific changes for whole child development.

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Some very basic differences exist between men and women and that each has a very distinct and separate role to play in our human society. Rousseau, a famous philosopher, writes: “A male is only a male now and again, the female is always a female … everything reminds her of her sex.” Perhaps separation of the two sexes could be beneficial since they have different traits and they should be raised differently, keeping in mind their various different needs and requirements. Males are usually bigger in body size than females, so their diet as well as their exercise habits should be planned accordingly. Similarly, females have other things to tend to, e.g. their physical and mental differences, and they should be raised to mind such things in the society. Females need to be taught about their anatomies as well as their social roles to play in the society separately from boys.  All girl elementary schools instill self empowerment because they identify academic, social, psychological needs of girls and implement specific changes for whole child development.  This is why it is important to have them attend separate schools, at least during elementary school, in order for them to develop their full potential.

Women have always assumed a separate role from men in almost all social affairs of our lives. There have been certain gender specific roles that have been attributed to women as well as men and these have translated into our cultures, societies, and religious activity. Various religions exist in this world and each of them has proscribed a view that looks at men and women differently. There is a hierarchy in which women may not rise to be at the same place as men, i.e. there can never be a woman Pope. Yet, this does not mean that women are looked down upon by the religion. They have their own special place and role in society and religion. Women have always had some specific roles in the society. Most common has been the role of a housewife. In the religious aspect, women have been known to hold positions in the realm of elders and judges. Historically, the presence of a woman was vital to the working of the society and they were considered as equals, and not inferior or in any way lower than men.

Rousseau was an advocate for the separation of the two sexes from each other. He believed that each of the two sexes must preserve their own separate spheres as Rousseau believed that “too much familiarity between men and women leads to moral corruption and mutual scorn.  Moreover, if men and women spend too much time together, the natural differences and roles between them will be obliterated” (Ice 2004, 5). I also believe that there are certain traits that belonged to the males, while the females have their own specific traits. Each gender has a separate role to play in the society. It is very important for the two sexes to retain and preserve these differences for the harmonious working of the society.  According to Rousseau, men tend to become effeminate and women virile because of the corruption of the balance between men and women, when the men and women cannot retain their characteristics and each sex start to adopt the characteristics of the other. Rousseau writes about women: “from the moment of birth, a girl’s life is entirely conditioned and programmed by her sexuality, by her ‘nature’ as a female” (Trouille 1997, 15). Rousseau established the connection between a woman’s social functions in a society with her social functions and roles as a wife and mother by comparing each with the physical to psychological, natural to social respectively.

If the men and women were to keep their characteristics in isolation and not adopt each other’s traits, the society may have fewer gender related issues.  “Men would be better fathers, husbands, and citizens.  Women would also be better wives and mothers” (Ice 2004, 6). Education to both the sexes should be provided at the same level, and each should be given the liberty to choose whatever subjects they desire to study. However, each should constantly be reminded of his/her actual role in the society and where they really belong. It is normally believed that the males should be relatively freer than women should and that it is in the inherent nature of the women to be unequal, dependent, and subordinate.

            However, at the same time, we should possibly avoid the use of the words equal and unequal for men and women. It can be argued that men and women cannot be compared together at all since they are two very different sides of the same species. “Everything they have in common is derived from the species, while their differences are derived from their sex,” Rousseau writes.  “Through what they have in common, they are equal; through their differences, they are not comparable: the mind of a perfect woman and a perfect man should not resemble each other any more than should their appearance” (Rousseau 1993). Nevertheless, the common gist of the study of gender roles is that they are very different from each other, and their differences must be constructively considered when raising them.

Pankhurst was an advocate of women’s liberation and revolutions. “By the outbreak of the 1848 revolutions, scores of feminists in Europe and the United States read the same literature, shared a common discourse and set of expectations, and had woven close personal connections to each other. As the revolutions exploded in Europe, they acted on behalf of “the cause,” as they called the international movement for women’s rights” (Anderson 1998). Pankhurst has been known to consider such ideals for women as being right for women. The wanted the women to join the revolution for liberation as he considered them “the clubs and the press are discussing social questions, and the rights of women are constantly put forth in all the clubs. . . . It would do [them] good to be over here now. The moral atmosphere would give [them] life” (Pankhurst 1954). As women in France, the Germany, and the United States created national women’s movements in 1848, they did so within the context of this wider movement, which gave them support and confirmation, supplied them with arguments and positions, and later provided networks that sustained .some French and German feminists exiled when the revolutions went under (Anderson 1998).

John Stuart Mill was also of similar contention. After reading La Voix de Femmes, he urged his future wife, Harriet Taylor, to finish her essay on feminism. Published as “Enfranchisement of Women” in the Westminster Review, it was reprinted in the United States and became an important validation for the early U.S. women’s movement.5 Situating themselves within an international context, these feminists saw their local struggles as part of a universal “world movement” (Anderson 1998)

Thus, we find that both Mill and Pankhurst were advocates of women rights and feminism. Both of them, in their own way, urged women to fight for their status. It was in the colonial times that the women were being treated as the personal property of a man. The man was allowed to do whatever he pleased with the woman and the woman was to bear it all without saying a word. The industrial revolution could have provided for the betterment of the status of women, but as discussed above, it proved to make their conditions worse. It was not until the information age that the women were able to exercise all their rights and step out into the world abreast the men. The men have now also acceded to the fact that women can be just as good, sometimes even better, than men in the various wakes of life can be. The women today still face many problems in the society, but their status has been elevated and they enjoy the status that the woman in the colonial times would not even have dreamed of.

Even though the book by Dr. Leonard Sax entitled Why Gender Matters, works to talk about the various important differences that exist between the two genders, it is also important to note that these differences affect the genders in different manners. According to Sax, girls can perform better than boys in many areas, such as linguistics and expressing their emotions. Yet, it cannot be confirmed whether these differences have any effect on the mental capabilities of the genders. The article “Sex Differences in Mental Test Scores, Variability, and Numbers of High-Scoring Individuals” by Larry V. Hedges and Amy Nowell begins with an editorial review that introduces the subject. It says that even though sex differences and their effects on mental test scores have been studied quite extensively in the past, no consistent or conclusive result can be drawn since the previous studies have not used the correct samples that represent the population. This article describes a study that was undertaken to evaluate the variables such as vocabulary, reading comprehension, mathematical skills, perceptual speed, science, nonverbal reasoning, writing, etc. These variables were taken from six previously conducted studies, each of which included samples of varying ages. Together, the six studies provided a comprehensive range of ages through which this study was able to draw its conclusions. The main objective of this study was to evaluate sex differences in intellectual abilities. The main research methodology was secondary archival where data from past researches was used as the statistical data for the current study. The sampling weights from each of the test in each survey were used to make estimates of the national means and variances of the test score distribution for both males and females. Variance ratios were then calculated and thus definitions of the ‘talented’ and ‘untalented’ individuals were drawn with the comparison of these variances with the means. The ratios of the males and females that fell in each of these two categories were then computed and compared. The results from this study can be said to be quite valid as they have taken the data from an extensive range of time (1960–1992) and age (15–22). The study concludes by saying that the largest areas where sex differences occur in mental capabilities are in those subjects that are not taught in schools (e.g. mechanical comprehension and vocational aptitudes) and in those that are generally considered to be difficult in their course content. Even though the study was able to produce some results, it was still unable completely and comprehensively to address the issue of whether gender differences exist in mental and learning capabilities on mental test scores. This title was thus overstated as it still failed to clarify the issue and became the very thing that the editorial review talks about, a research with inconsistent results.

            It is, however, interesting to note that women are actually the more productive of the two sexes in a workplace. A study did a research into the findings of the relationship between working women from various demographic areas and their wage rates.  The study taken reviews women between the ages of 25-60, with various educational and geographical backgrounds, in relation to the amount of hours that they spend working and their wage rates.   This article was very interesting as it reveals the various problems that women face in the workforce. It was also interesting to find out the various changes that have taken place in the workforce regarding the representation of women. More women are working and putting in more hours than ever. It was also found that women’s wage rates have been rising and the trend shows that they will continue to rise. This was all contrary to the stereotypical notion of women in the workplace; that they are underrepresented and do not work as hard as men. It was interesting to find this research suggest otherwise. It was found that many of the women, their attitudes toward work, as well as the attitude of the workplace towards them, have changed greatly since the 1970s. The 1990s working woman image was what has won in the end, in that it has opened up new avenues for working women everywhere. The study showed that women working habits have greatly changed and that the women are putting in more working hours. Many of the people tend to argue that women are misrepresented in the workplace and that they do not contribute as much as men do. This study clearly suggests that women are coming up to par with men, and on some occasions, are even putting in more working hours and more quality work than men.

Thus, after all this research and analysis, it can be easily said that men and women are made different from each other, play separate roles in society and should be allowed the choice to fulfill their own destiny because of what they desire not the gender they possess.  Equality means  same choices, positions, pay, and rights in society. This is why it is very important for each of the two sexes to get separate kind of education, at least in their elementary years, so that they are able to better understand themselves, their rights, the difference between their sexes, and their separate roles that they choose to play. It is not the question of which sex is better or which is stronger; it is the realization that the two sexes are very different, and one cannot completely assume the role of the other.

creativity while boys on the other hand do well on technical subjects although not yet confirme                     Women are empowered through leading them to understanding themselves well. When women understand and accept themselves and their roles then they gain confidence of who they are, but not what others think they are.

     Education is the best way to empower women, which should start at a very tender age. While this is very true UN reports shows that most of the worlds illiterate are women. Most of the gender gaps are socially created, For example when the records reveal that women make the highest percent of the worlds illiterate, not because women cannot attain education but because of the cultural constraints in most the worlds population that hinders women from acquiring it. Neither is the constraints natural but created, for example, the school policies dictate that girls who are expectant are forced to drop out of school while their fellow male students responsible of impregnating them continue with education normally. But currently the situation is improving; few cases of girls dropping from school because of expectancy are recorded, since many countries have revised that policy. Girls understanding of their sex is also improving the situation for they are able to independently make decisions about their sexual behavior unlike there before when they only responded on influence from their friends.

      Again when a parent is lacking enough money to educate both a girl and a boy, it is the girls right to education that is compromised. And even the girls themselves is like they have accepted it because when the family lacks basic needs the girl offers herself to drop out from the school to work in low waged or unskilled jobs in order to cater for the families basic needs.

By understanding her sexual rights from a tender age, the girl will grow to protect herself against sexual crimes and harassment that violates their sexual rights.

According to statistics of world economy forum, high rape cases are recorded, while the par traitors walk free, while on the other parts of the world it is considered normal for a woman to be raped but not a crime.

        Women’s biological roles which has been created unique and beautiful, has continually been used as a weapon of punishment against them. For example when women are expectant their performance goes down, and in most cases they stand at a risk of being laid off or they are given a maternity leave without a pay. In some countries women when they go for maternity leave end up being replaced at their place of work.

         It was a trend of the past that women were trained in low-ranked jobs or they were trained as subordinate staff, such as secretaries, clerks and other low-ranked positions in the working place while the men were trained in order to occupy managerial and other prestigious positions. This has been influencing women’s hiring patterns. Although this scenario is changing many women find themselves victims of the same. For example a woman who is employed at the same time and position with a man, will receive promotion later than the same man. Though changing the same stereotypes are still in control and in this case promotion is not based on merit and performance but on gender bases.

    Again if a woman and a man of the same education level attended a job interview, the woman needs to prove herself more or convince the boss on her ability to perform which means the boss or the manager doesn’t have trust or believe on the woman, a scenario being influenced by the former stereotypes that men perform better than women.

          Women tend to take jobs that march with their characteristics of nurturing, tender and caring. These jobs are like teaching which march with the mothering role, Nursing expressing the caring part of her character. Women also being used to subordination and dependency it might influence them to taking up subordinate jobs like cleaners, tea girls, secretaries and clerks. While men on the other hand are forced by their dominance ruling characteristics to take managerial jobs which involve a lot of risks and challenges.

      Women are in the recent past venturing into the public domain. Unfortunately they are faced with a lot of challenges since this has not been their domain. The first challenge originates from the dominants who are men. The dominating gender in the public sphere who is men may be a source of stiff, competition, competing for the same posts. The other challenge becomes the society’s attitude towards the woman who has crossed from domestic/or private sphere where other women comfortably belong to public sphere/domain, which is dominated by men. A good example is a woman who ventures in politics. Apart from the stiff competition from men, she faces things other challenges like being segregated by the other women and being unacceptable to the men who feels that she is a posing a challenge to them, rarely viewed as a normal woman.

Girls in school are nurtured to take their position in the society. They are taught restriction on their behavior for they are expected to meet some expectations either by the society members or their teachers on how they appear or they dress. They are taught to appear neat and presentable before the people. Dressing patterns are also dictated by the societal expectations. Men on the other hand are modeled to be breadwinners so hard work should form part of their treasured characteristics. And also expected of them is the ability to care for the women (wives) who are depicted as weak both physically and mentally.

          Many women compared to men die in the most parts of the world from diseases that could be prevented. Some of the preventable conditions that have continued to kill women are matters related to child birth. All these are conditions that affect them due lack of awareness and girls empowerment.   HIV/AIDS is the most discriminative disease. United Nations in a report presented in Vienna 2006 indicated that women are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. The main causes of the current situation of HIV/AIDS among women is multiple partners, genital mutilation and greatest of all being lack of awareness among girls.

      Women empowerment will not only curb the spread HIV/AIDS among women and girls but also will help the society in so many since women are directly involved with taking care of the whole society, including men and children. For example women will understand how to feed their family since with education they understand the essence of diet which help eradicate nutritional related diseases such as kwashiorkor, marasmus and scurvy hence ensuring healthy society that translates to slowed rate of death, and also the economy will go high since the society is healthy and able work hard and at the same time spending less money in treatment of nutritional related diseases. With low death rate, the country’s economy goes high as well. Women empowerment can help solve most of the society’s problems. ( Hedges, Larry V., & Amy Nowell. (1995).

        Women being their natural role to take care of the members of the society, they are the care taker of the sick, including the victims of HIV/AIDS victims. An empowered woman will be able to protect herself from contacting the HIV/AIDS virus while caring for the victims.

          An educated woman is empowered to making of informed and independent decisions. An example of independent decision an empowered woman is able to make includes those concerning whether to have sex and at what age. Many girls who do not enjoy the benefit of education lack the confidence to make such decision but are influenced by their friends who are also uninformed; hence they end up contacting HIV/AIDS at an early age.

            As per the argument before, girls perform well in studies involving creative skills, curriculums should be developed in favor of both girls and boys. Past curriculums forced girls to take subject they neither liked nor needed in their future life.

Education curriculums should be developed in a way that both girls and boys are encouraged to take the subject they feel can manage or need in building their body, are created to complement men. Both their bodies and their character traits match with their role. For example women’s body is small, soft and tender meaning that they are supposed to attend light duties in the society. Men on the other hand have large body, strong and muscular indicating that, they are made to attend to tough and heavy duties .Since no one can access someone’s mind, then it follows that the minds ability remains unknown. So the study is only based on physical ability.( Pankhurst& Wheeler. (1954).

            Mental ability only differs from and an individual to another but not on basis of the gender. For a balanced Society both men and women should perform their roles. In cases where one fails to understand or perform his/her roles balance lacks. In many cases, men have practically abandoned their roles as fathers and breadwinners. The woman in question is faced with a big challenge of doubling as both homemaker and bread winner. This kind of imbalance in the society makes women perform men’s roles for the sake of balance in the society.  When it continually happens, it makes women feel like men and different women might be tempted to come together and lobby for equality.

            Education also empowered women economically. Educated women are empowered to take –up skilled and managerial and high salaried positions resulting to achievement of economical autonomy compared to uneducated women. An educated woman is financially well up since she can effectively compete with men in the skilled job market. Those who are not educated compete for the low-skilled jobs with the majority of other women and this has increased the competition. Again educated women posses all what it takes to manage business for higher profits.

            Politically a woman who is empowered by being aware of her political rights they are able to exercise them. For example they can actively participate either by voting wisely since they know qualities of good leader and also the understanding of their political expectation. It can also help them not only to participate through voting but also standing as a candidate since they understand their political right and also they have all what it takes or required as a leader.

            Socially the woman can be empowered in a way that she can interact with people from all societies comfortably. Also gaining ability to deal with people of all social classes without being intimidated by their social status. Women who are educated the have the confidence to face women from all races, because class is not a barrier any more. Gaps do not only exist between men and women but also between women. A good example is the gap between white women and black women, white women are more empowered than the black women. Liberisation of black women can only be achieved through education. (Trouille& Seidman. (1997).

                   Education will help women to break the poverty circle they have been revolving around, for example women will be able to overcome cultural barriers and obstacles that have been hindering them from performing their duties effectively. Women have been made to believe that they are unable to do anything and so they have believed and viewed themselves in the same way. Many women are enemies of themselves because even they, lack the comfort ability to work in high ranked positions even when they have all the qualifications required. We have seen women who are highly educated but lack the confidence to take up those the so called ‘men’s jobs’.’(Ice,Tamela. (2004).

       Women should not sit and wait for their battles to be fought by anyone else and then they jump up to those positions. In order to solve women’s problems they should be involved. A good example is when a government has lowered the number of university entry points for the female gender. This cannot help the women empowerment but empowering them to feel confident to work hard and attain the points required to join the public universities be more preferable. Other governments have also gone as far as revising their policies to accommodate the women in the government. For example many governments of the world are striving to have thirty percent of the parliamentary seats in the government preserved for women. In this case women will have attained nothing since they are just being treated like objects but not considered to deserve that position since they have been taken placed in those positions just as objects. Women should learn how to fight their way out. If any woman is willing for example to join the political arena, the first thing she should do is being aware of the obstacles, competitions and then strategizes on how to overcome them. She should campaign as the other politicians and win the peoples votes.

   In conclusion cultural barrier has been a major constrain to women’s empowerment. Although these cultures differ from one place to another, they have all treated women the same. Women should understand that gender roles are socially constructed, and so subject to  change unlike biological roles that are natural and not subject to change over the longest time, for example, the role of a woman as a mother cannot be changed or exchanged with men’s roles in any way. Since gender roles can change, I believe that, educating women is the most efficient tool to change these social structures to favor or work positively for women. The empowerment of women through education though the best way, takes a longer time since it is a process but not an end product by itself. For this particular reason, it should start at an early and tender age. The other reason why it should start at a tender age is because it should start before that particular girl child is uncultured to the existing norms which are the same ones constraining their mothers. Then the girl should train to pass this kind of empowerment down to the coming generation in order to break the vicious women circle. The young girl should be trained to pass this kind of empowerment down to the coming generation in order to break the vicious women.  The young girl should be made to understand how to complement the male gender but not to feel inferior to them. All the women empowerment discussed in this paper can only be practical in a single gender school environment since the resistance will be less.

 References:

Anderson, Bonnie S. (1998). “The Lid Comes Off: International Radical Feminism and the Revolutions of 1848,” NWSA Journal,

Hedges, Larry V., & Amy Nowell. (1995). “Sex Differences in Mental Test Scores,

Variability, and Numbers of High-Scoring Individuals.” American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Ice,Tamela. (2004). “Sexual Politics in Rousseu, Flaubert, and Sand,” Women Studies 898, May 24

Pankhurst, Richard K. P. (1954). “Anna Wheeler: A pioneer socialist and feminist,” Political Quarterly 25: 142

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. (1993).Emile. Translated by Barbara Foxley.  London: J. M. Dent, 338

 Why Gender Matters: what parents and teachers need to know about the emerging science of sex differences, Random House  Trouille, Mary Seidman. (1997).  Sexual Politics in the Enlightenment: Women Writers

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