The answer to the above question apparently is “not enough.” A Washington Post article you can read HERE, author Danielle Parquette posits that assisting girls in development of their self-esteem from a young age has a massive positive effect on their academic performance later in life. The trouble is societies in general and schools in particular are not doing enough to build confidence in girls.
From the article: “By now, this cycle is depressingly familiar: Girls grow up. They go to college. They opt out of STEM majors. They’re dramatically underrepresented in engineering and technology, even as jobs proliferate. Only 14 percent of women entering colleges in OECD-examined countries chose a science-related field of study in 2012, the last year measured, compared to 39 percent of men.”
That is fairly alarming.
In my career as a high school teacher and administrator, I worked in co-educational environments, all boy environments and all girl environments. I taught gifted kids and kids with fewer gifts. I learned many things about adolescents of both genders.
One of the most important insights I took away from my work confirms what Ms. Parquette writes about in her article: on the whole, confident students, whether they are girls or boys, reach for greater heights because they feel they can.
Whether we are English teachers, Spanish teachers or science and math teachers, we need to examine why our boys are more confident than our girls and address the root causes. The end result of not doing so does a great disservice.
Girls are just as talented as boys. Let’s be certain they know it.