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ED 091 623 

CG 008 867 






Sex Role Stereotyping in the Schools. 

National Education Association, Washington, D.C. 



National Education Association, 1201 16th Street, 
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036 

HF-$0.75 HC Not Available from EDRS. PLOS POSTAGE 
Aspiration; Books; Discriminatory Attitudes (Social) ; 
♦Equal Education; *Feminisn; ♦Nondiscriminatory 
Education; ♦Sex Discrimination; ♦Sex Stereotypes; 
Social Attitudes 


A collection of nine separate articles, this book 
discusses both the subtle forms of sex role stereotyping in our 
schools (e.g., teachers never asking girls to run the audiovisual 
equipment) and some of the mere flagrant forms (discouraging boys 
from taking home economics) . It refers to a recent study of teachers' 
attitudes which indicated that, while all of the participating 
teachers felt that they treated students fairly and equally, most of 
these educators still differentiated ideal behaviors by sex. It 
discusses sex discrimination in such areas as school athletics and 
textbooks and also includes an article on counselor attitudes towards 
the vocational aspirations of girls, as well as research on the 
child's view of sex roles. Finally, the book presents some ideas on 
alternatives to a sexist curriculum, and gives an account of one 
woman's attempts to create a nonsexist educational environment in her 
daughter's school. (HH7) 






National Education Association 
Washington, DC 20036 


Copyright O 1973 

National Education Association of the United States 
NEA Stock No. 38M2060 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Main entry under title: 

Sex role stereotyping in the schools. 

Includes bibliographical references. 

1. Sex differences in education — Addresses, essays, 
lectures. 2. Sex role — Addresses, essays, lectures. 
LB1117.S42 370.15 73-1679 


1. Sex Role Soeializalion in Schools 1 
Betty Levy 

2. Outmoded Stereotypes in the School 8 

Gail T, McLtire, with Marjorie Friedman, 
Kay Rics, Tracy Brunner, Jill Hender, and 
Beverly Witwer 

3. Sex Stereotyping in Educational Guidance 14 
Phyllis Zatlin Boring 

4. A Child 's-Eye View of Sex Roles 23 
Lynne B. Iglitzin 

5. Sexual Politics in the Classroom 31 
Sheila Tobias 

6. School Athletics and Sex Discrimination 36 
Kathryn F. Clarenbach 

7. Roles, Labels, Stereotypes: A Counselor's 40 

Barbara Cook 

8. Alternatives to a Sexist Curriculum 50 
Rose M. Somerville 

9. Changing the School Environment 57 
Dorin M. Schumacher 


The following arliclcs arc reprinted with permission 
from the publications indicated: 

"Sex Slereolyping in Educational Guidance" (NJEA 
[New Jersey Educatioti Associatioti] Review) 

"Sexual Politics in the Classroom" (51% Minority) 

"Roles, Labels, Stereotypes: A Counselor's Chal- 
lenge" (Journal of the National Association of 
Woi}ien Deans and Cotoiselors) 

"Changing the School Environment" (Women: A 
Journal of Liberation) 

"Sex Role Socialization in Schools," "Outmoded 
Stereotypes in the School Environment," "A Child's- 
Eye View of Sex Roles/' "Alternatives to a Sexist 
Curt iculum" (Today's Education) 

1. Sex Role 
in Schools 

By Betty Levy 

Recent critics of the schools have explored the 
contradiction between what schools say they do 
and what they actually do. The ostensible pur- 
pose of schools is to educate everyone and to equ£.lize 
opportunity for all. Liberal reformers who accept 
this purpose at face value bemoan the fact that 
schools are "failing** (i.e., not educating), whereas 
more sophisticated analysts move beyond the stated 
purpose of schools and reveal that schools are "suc- 
ceeding" in difTerentially socializing pupils by race, 
class, and sex. These socializing functions are all the 
more powerful when one considers that they occur de- 
spite efforts of many well-intentioned educators to 
achieve the schools* stated aims. 

lUich, Friedenberg, Holt, and others have described 
how the institutional demands of schools (passively 
^'being taught," acquiescing to Imposed rules and rou- 
tines, and so on) conflict with learning and individual 
development goals. Wasserman, Reimer, Freire, Roth- 
stein, Jencks, and others have discussed the role 
schools play in perpetuating existing social and eco* 
nomic Inequalities. Schools may not "make a differ- 
ence'* in the sense that they do not dramatically im- 
prove the life chances of the poor, of minority groups, 
or of women, but they do "make a difference" in that 
they remain an effective Instrument of social control. 
Schools, after all, were not created to change society, 1 

but to maintain it and thus help keep existing domi- 
nant groups dominant. 

What most critics have failed to examine is how 
traditional demands of schools function to perpetuate 
traditional sex roles. For girls» the schools' expec- 
tations and the traditional sex-role expectations are 
congruent and provide a strong double-barreled mes- 
sage reinforcing girls' obedience, docility, and de- 
pendence. For boys, the schools' expectations often 
conflict with traditional sex-role expectations, result- 
ing in a confusing double message: Be aggressive, ac- 
tive, achieving, and independent (be masculine), but 
also be passive, quiet, and conforming (be a good 

As a result, boys tend to be more acting-out in 
school and more noticeable, whereas girls tend to be 
more completely socialized into "goodness" and thus 
more easily ignored. The long-lasting result is poten- 
tially more positive for boys, since the "masculine" 
characteristics are related to intellectual development 
and self^actualization, whereas the strong, consistent 
pressures on girls to be "feminine" and "good pupils" 
promote characteristics that inhibit achievement 
and suppress females' full development. 

Recent discussion of sex-role socialization in schools 
has been dominated by concern for boys who, it is 
contended, are forced to meet feminine standards of 
behavior and thinking by the overwhelmingly feminine 
atmosphere of the elementary school. Because the 
emphasis has been on boys' problems, the situation of 
girls has been overlooked. As a result, the schools' 
"feminization" or "domestication" training *s seen, 
by implication, as good preparation for "real woman- 
hood." The fact that girls are being doubly trained — 
at home and at school — to be docile and conforming 
is not of concern. What is of concern is that boys 
might be treated badly in school, that is, "like girls." 
The fact that the school as an institution demands 
conformity and obedience for most children is not 
noted. Rather, female teachers are labeled "the enemy" 
in the destruction of male minds! 

An incredibly large number of studies have been 
addressed to the question, "Do female teachers dis- 

criminate against boys?** The results of these indicate 
that boys» far from being discriminated against, pro- 
vide more intense stimuli for teachers and receive 
more positive as well as more negative attention from 
teachers than do girls. Teachers may yell at boys more, 
but teachers also give them more praise, more instruc- 
tion, and more encouragement to be creative than 
they give girls. Girls are either ignored or rewarded 
merely for following directions and for doing as- 
signed work. 

Many studies have demonstrated that boys make up 
the majority of teachers' behavioral problems and 
that teachers tend to discipline boys more harshly 
than girls. In Psychology of Women: A Study of Bio- 
Cultural Conflicts, Judith M. Bardwick speculates that 
a boy learns in school that he can get attention and 
respect from his teacher and his peers for noncon- 
forming behavior. Thus, teacher criticism, a seem- 
ingly negative response, may actually lead boys 
toward greater independence, autonomy, and ac- 

A boy whom the teacher harshly reprimands may 
temporarily feel put down but may also learn to de- 
fend and assert himself more as an independent 
being. The girl who is softly told she "did something 
bad** while the teacher gives her a reassuring (patron- 
izing?) pat is less likely to develop self-assertive be- 
havior that carries the risk of disapproval. 

Moreover, research done by R. L. Spaulding indi- 
cates that a disproportionate number of teachers' neg- 
ative remarks to girls concerned incorrect answers 
("YouYe wrong» Sally'*)» a pattern that could only re- 
inforce girls* sense of inferiority. 

Other evidence indicates that even by the pre- 
school years, boys tend to be more realistic about 
their achievements than do girls. Perhaps the criticism 
boys receive tends to be more task-oriented, helping 
them to better evaluate thoir skills. Girls may be re- 
ceiving more general and more personal criticism 
leading to an oversensitivity to criticism and a tend- 
ency to do tasks to gain social approval rather than to 
meet onc*s own standards. 3 


In my opinion, we need more unbiased research to 
determine differences in how teachers discipline and 
criticize boys as opposed to girls and how these dif- 
ferences affect their development. Also< teachers need 
to become increasingly self-awarc of how they may 
be subtly shaping boys more toward independent 
achievement and girls more toward dependence and 
nonsustained achiever lent. 

Also we need to discover if teachers are held more 
firmly accouniablc for maintaining order than for 
facilitating learning. If this is so, it is no wonder 
that they desire passive, conforming behavior from 
boys and gratefully receive it from girls. 

Schools reinforce traditional sex roles In many 
ways. One way is through the authority structure of 
the school itself. Eighty-five percent of all elementary 
school teachers are women; 79 percent of all ele- 
mentary school principals are men. Schoolchildren 
do not need to be taught the differential status of 
men and women — they learn it simply by attending 

Another mechanism of sex-role reinforcement is 
segregated classes and activities. A number of grade 
schools have been "experimenting** with sex-segre- 
gated classes. The all'boy classes emphasize large- 
muscle physical activity, team games, building, repair- 
ing, and other tasks "ordinarily performed by fathers." 
In one school, the all-girl classes include such activi- 
ties as "dressing up like mother and playing house." 

Even with classes that are not sex-segregated, cer- 
tain activities, such as cooking and sewing, are encour- 
aged primarily for girls, and other activities, such as 
woodworking, are encouraged primarily for boys. 
Physical education and playground activities fre- 
quently are sex-segregated. As children move through 
' elementary school, certain subjects, such as English, 
come to be regarded as "girls' subjects" while other 
subjects, such as math and science, are perceived as 
"boys* subjects.** 

Even in free schools where there is no conscious 
attempt to sex type, the policy of allowing children to 
follow their own interests usually results in condoning 

the per\'asivc ,sex«iyped aciivilies ihc children have 
learned outside the school. Effective open classrooms, 
while basically noninlerx-entionist, still require chil- 
dren to master basic skills. But jnter%ening to require 
choices and activities that are free of sex typing has 
apparently not yet become an important concern of 
the open classroom. 

The separation of boys and girls for seating, hanging 
up coats, and so on, and the choice of class helpers 
calls attention to sex distinctions and sex roles. So 
does sex typing in elementary school reading mate- 

The same male-dominated authority structure, sex- 
segregated courses and programs, and sex typing in 
textbooks is also found at the secondary school level. 
In addition, some research findings indicate that coun- 
selors guide female students into "feminine" occupa- 
tions and tend to assume girls desire marriage more 
than they in fact do. According to a 1971 Report on Sex 
Bias in the Public Schools by the New York City Chap- 
ter of the National Organization for Women, New 
York City has more boys' than girls' high schools and 
more restricted programs and more restricted course 
offerings for girls in both girls' and coeducational high 
schools. The Report also states thai two of the four 
specialized academic high schools only recently began 
to admit girls and that innovation occurred only after 
a court battle. 

Teachers' attitudes supplement and reinforce the 
institutional sexism of high schools. A recent explora- 
tory study of the sex-role attitudes of secondary school 
teachers in and around New York City indicated thai 
most of them differentiated ideal behaviors by sex. 
They wanted adolescent males to be dominant, inde- 
pendent, and assertive, and adolescent females to be 
submissive, dependent, unassertive, emotional, and 
concerned about their appearance. Also, in response 
to a statement about a "competent student interested 
in math and science," teachers indicated they would 
encourage a boy to build on that interest but be con- 
cerned that a girl develop competencies in areas be- 
sides mathematics and science to avoid becoming lop- 

Despite the respondents* claims that they treated all 
siudenis fairly and equally, differential evaluation 
according to sex-roie stereotypes was evident. (These 
responses should not be interpreted as conscious ma- 
levolence on the part of teachers, but rather as an 
indication that teachers share in the unconscious sex* 
role ideology which affects us all.) 

What can educators do to challenge and correct the 

detrimental effects of sex-role socialization in schools? 

First, they must realize that schools mirror the elit- 
ism, racism, and sexism of our society. Thus, efforts to 
challenge sexism in schools must be perceived as pan 
of a larger and long-range struggle to change the in- 
equalities which schools maintain and perpetuate. 

Issues which will benefit all men and women, not 
merely a privileged few, should have the highest pri- 
ority. For example, struggles to end tracking are more 
basic than struggles to get a few more female students 
in the honors track, and attempts to open up the 
school authority and decision-making structure to all 
those groups affected by it are more basic than at- 
tempts to get a few more female principals. Efforts to 
rid schools of sexist attitudes and practices must be 
linked with broader efforts if all are to be suc- 

Second, since sex-role stereotypes are so pervasive, 
an individual teacher may find it hdpful to work with 
other teachers in consciousness-raising groups and 
sex-role committees to better understand and struggle 
with the ways we are oppressed by (and oppress our 
students with) sexist ideas and behavior. In addition 
to collective efforts to change classroom practices, 
teachers should form schoolwide committees to focus 
on curricular programs and materials; challenge sex- 
segregated classes and activities; and gather data on 
hiring and promotion practices, salaries, and so on. 

Some resources for teachers and others wishing to 
do work in this area are listed below: 

1. Little Miss Muffett Fights Back (a bibliography of 
nonsexist books about girls). Feminists on Children's 
Media, P.O. Box 4315, Grand Central Station, New York 
6 10017. 


2. Let Them Aspire! (report on Ann Arbor schools). 
Contact Marcia Fcdcrbush. 1000 Cedar Bend Drive. Ann 
Arbor. Ml 48105. 

3. Lollipop Power, P.O. Box 1171. Chapel Hill, NC 27514. 
(This organization publishes sex-role tree books for young 

4. Report on Sex Bias in the Public Schools. New York 
Citv Chapter, National Organization for Women, 28 East 
56th St.. New York 10022. 

5. Scholastic Teacher, "Resources for Women's Studies.** 
Jr. /Sr. High Teachers Edition, p. 12. ''Exploding the Fairy 
Princess and Other Myths.** Elementary Teachers Edition, 
p. 11. November 1971. 

6. '*Sexjsm in the Schools: Focus on the Woman 
Teacher.** No More Teachers* Dirty Looks, Vol. Ill, No. 1» 
1972. BARTOC (Bay Area Radical Teachers* Organizing 
Collective). P.O. Box 40143. San Francisco. CA 94140. 

7. Zimmerman. Bonnie B.. ed. Jack and Jill: This is the 
world that Jack built and Jill came tumbling after . . . 
(manual for teachers), P.O. Box 405, Livermore, CA 

2. Outmoded 
in the School 

By Gail T. McLure, with Marjorie Friedman, 
Kay Ries, Tracy Brunner, Jill Hender, 
and Beverly Witwer 

To what extent are the schools responsible for the 
secondary status of women in our society? 

The following excerpt from an article in Time 
(August 31, 1970) points to the unequal status of wom- 
en as well as some implications for education: 

"The status of women — America's numerical ma- 
jority at 51 percent of the population — remains today 
as relentlessly second class as that of any minority. 
A third of the American work force is female: 42 
percent of the women 16 and older work. 

"Yet there is only one economic indicator in which 
women consistently lead men, and that is the number 
living in poverty. In 1968, the median salary for full- 
time, year-round workers was $7,870 for white males, 
$5,314 for nonwhite men, $4,580 for white women, 
and $3,487 for nonwhite women, ... On the average, 
a woman needs a college degree to earn more than a 
man does with an eighth grade education." 

The article goes on to say that the number of women 
in the higher education and professional categories is 
"grossly disproportionate both to the population and 
to the educational background of some women. 
Women constitute only 9 percent of all the profes- 
sions, 7 percent of the doctors, 3 percent of the 
lawyers, 1 percent of the engineers. . . . Nine out of 
10 elementary school teachers are women, but 8 out of 
8 10 principals of these schools are men."* 


The schools are in part responsible for this situ- 
ation. We begin to teach role stereotypes as early as 
kindergarten. Girls are expected to play in a doll 
corner equipped with a mock-up of mother's kitchen, 
while the boys are steered to a jungle gym or building 

One high school girl recently told her adult-living 
class about an experience she had as a kindergartner. 
When she pasted a picture of a man holding a baby 
on the page of her workbook entitled "Father's Jobs." 
the teacher marked this wrong — even though the girl 
explained she had seen her father holding a baby 
many times. 

Perhaps we could excuse one teacher's lack of 
judgment, but this is not an isolated case. Even a 
cursory look at texts and workbooks for the primary 
grades reveals examples of role stereotyping which 
separate female jobs from male jobs, girl interest 
from boy interest. 

Yet studies conducted at the Fels Institute indicate 
that "the brighter girls are more likely to enjoy base- 
ball and other boys' games, while the brighter boys 
will more often engage in feminine activities." This 
is only one of several studies which bring into serious 
question the teaching of masculine and feminine 

In most secondary schools, only an exceptional girl 
will ask to be admitted to an industrial arts course, 
and if she does, she may not be encouraged to par- 
ticipate. Girls are usually channeled into ho; ne making 
courses; boys, into industrial arts. Yet in our tech- 
nological society, where each sex is expected to fulfill 
multiple roles, girls surely need to develop compe- 
tence in industrial arts and other forms of career 
education, and boys need to acquire knowledge of 
nutrition, family life, and homemaking skills. 

The New York State Education Department's asso- 
ciate commissioner for occupational education offered 
the following recommendation in the November 1969 
issue of the NASSP Bulletin: "Industrial arts educa- 
tion should serve girls as well as boys, women as well 
as men, and extend from kindergarten through adult 
education." Is it not unfortunate that so many schools 9 


contribute to the mystique that to be feminine one 
must be ignorant of mechanics, woodworking, and 
technical studies? 

In addition to sex role stereotyping, there is a probh 
lem of inadequate image rellection. Girls do not see 
female images, stereotyped or not, as often in school 
materials as they see male images. Fewer female 
characters, especially lead characters, appear in basal 
readers, for example. 

The current fourth grade reader used in Iowa City 
is typical. Not counting fairy tales, poems, or stories 
without human beings, the book has 28 stories. Males 
are the leading characters in 26 of these. One of the 
26 heroes shares the spotlight with his mother, but he 
is the title character. Only one story is entirely about 
a female heroine (Jane Addams); in the remaining 
story the heroine shares the focus with a horse. 

The nature of the female steieotype may account 
for boys' reluctance to reiid stories about girls. A 
disproportionate number of female characters appear 
in minor roles; fewer females perform heroic or ad- 
mirable tasks. Too many stories for elementary pupils 
show girls serving cookies, playing dolls, staying at 
home to help mother, or being rescued (along with 
the mothers) by boys. 

English teachers in our district report that when 
reading plays or acting in them, girls will usually read 
both girls' and boys' parts willingly, whereas boys will 
read only hoys' parts. This clearly reflects the atti- 
tudes about women which have been fostered both by 
our schools and society in general. 

From our own use and examination of social studies 
texts, we have found that these books do not ade- 
quately reflect the contributions of women. The valid- 
ity of our observations is confirmed in an article in 
tiie March 1 97 1 issue of Social Education. Janice Law 
Trecker analyzes over a dozen of the most popular 
U.S. history textbooks in order to ask such questions 
as this: "Are the stereotypes which limit girls', aspira- 
tions present in high school history texts?" She says 
the answer is "yes . . . most works are marred by sins 
10 of omission and commission." The hidden female 


image becomes diilicult for even the mature adult to 
find when it is referred to in words such as man, uimi- 
kind, he, or his. 

Blacks and oilier minoriiy jzroups arc now begin- 
ning to receive fairer representation in media mate- 
rials. Yet many social studies texts still fail to record 
the role of women in history and in today's society. 

Local teachers recently attended state and national 
conventions where many publishing companies dis- 
played their latest wares. Although the materials 
about blacks and other minority groups were promi- 
nent, we found little evidence of lairer treatment of 
the female image. 

(We asked numerous representatives from these 
companies why an c/Tort was not being made in this 
regard. Answers varied from "You ladies aren't mak- 
ing enough noise" and "We're waiting around to sec if 
the women's liberation movement is a passing fad" 
to responses reflecting serious interest. Some spoke 
of the economics involved in getting books written 
and marketed. Publishers want to be assured of a de- 
mand.) Teachers can exert considerable pressure on 
publishers by recommending that school systems re- 
fuse to buy texts which tail to take note of female 
contributions. Meanwhile, teachers can enrich their 
courses by using supplementary materials from other 

We believe most teachers would agree that in the 
daily routine of any given day, boys are usually the 
ones asked to operate audiovisual equipment and per- 
form similar activities. Seldom does a girl have the 
opportunity to learn how to run the movie projector. 
Only a rare girl would have the courage to volunteer 
for this "man's work." 

At most schools, the boys' athletics program re- 
ceives far more money, a larger coaching staff, and 
more time than does the girls' program. Travel to 
out-of-town meets is often limited for girls. On the 
other hand, boys are permitted to travel by school 
bus to a variety of out-of-town games. 

Anyone who follows student sports would probably 
agree with our impression that the press, including 
school newspapers, gives a great deal more space to II 

predominantly male activities in the field of sports. 
The booster clubs, awards banquets, and recognition 
day festivities frequently are geared toward support 
of male accomplishments in the sports arena. 

Research studies, such as those discussed by Gary 
L. Peltier in his article, "Sex DilTerences in the School: 
Problem and Proposed Solution" {Phi Delta Kappan, 
November 1968), show there is no conclusive evidence 
of sex differences in scholastic achievement, but young 
girls have fewer physical and emotional problems, 
read better, stutter less, and mature physically more 
rapidly than boys. 

Yet the socialization process which begins in the 
elementary school bears strange fruit by the time girls 
reach junior and senior high school. By then some of 
them are afraid to assert themselves in class discus- 
sions. They may lower their sights with regard to a 
career and decide that finding the right husband is 
the ultimate key to personal success. 

Parents, teachers, and guidance counselors often 
contribute to the problem by taking a narrow view of 
the career possibilities open to girls. They may guide 
a girl into a "suitable" occupation, such as secretarial 
studies, nursing, or teaching, while failing to stress 
the importance of other interesting pursuits. 

For example, how often do we encourage an able 
girl to consider a career in medicine, law, city plan- 
ning, or architecture? Instead, we warn her of the 
insurmountable difliculties she will face if she chooses 
to pursue one of these occupations. Such an attitude 
may cause a girl to doubt her own capabilities. 

The environment of the school reflects the statas of 
women in society. For example, although most ele- 
mentary teachers are women, only one-fifth of the 
elementary principalships (which pay more) are held 
by women. 

Further along in the secondary school there is an 
almost equal balance between male and female teach- 
ers while 97 percent of the high school principals are 
male. Sixty-nine percent of department heads in public 
12 schools are men, and we think most secondary teach- 


ers would conlirni our impression that men lend to 
become leaders ol' committees, conductors of assem- 
blies, and the bearers ot greater authority on many 
fronts. Granted, many women would refuse to be* 
come chairwomen or principals. But we must remem- 
ber that women have been biainwashed to the point 
where they may consider themselves incapable of 
such responsibilities. 

It is our contention that the schools do not ade- 
quately recognize the historical forces and contem- 
porary conditions which have resulted in women's 
present status. Several factors, some subtle, some not 
so subtle, combine to prevent women from realizing 
full equality. It is not enough to equalize hiring 
practices and opportunities for adult women. We 
must nurture the idea of female equality at the earliest 
ages, for the heart of the problem lies in the develop- 
ment of a strong concept of self. Educators and school 
curriculums must do more to promote the goal of 
equal rights for both w^omen and girls. 

*NEA Research Dfvislon data show that at the elementary school 
level women account for 86 percent of classroom teachers, 30 
percent of teaching principals, and 19 percent of principals. 



in Educational 

fi V Phyllis Zatlin Boring 

^contemporary existentialist writers often depict 

life as a labyrinth. Each individual is constantly 

confronted by choices. Once he (or she) has 
chosen a certain path, he can never undo that decision. 
By choosing, he closes off options that might have 
been open to him. If he retraces his steps, he may get 
back to the place he previously bypassed. But time 
and circumstances will have changed. 

The image of a labyrinth may well be applied to 
one's education. From the earliest grades on, educa- 
tion is a maze. The student must constantly choose 
paths. By choosing, he closes doors. By selecting a 
language, he may sacrifice a science. By taking a busi- 
ness course, he may close the door to college. 

Confused by the labyrinth of choices, the student 
naturaUy turns to his teachers and his guidance coun- 
selors, hoping that they — like the mythological Ari- 
adne — will give him a magic thread to find his way into 
and out of the maze. The responsibility that falls on 
educators is then groat indeed, for, as we well know, 
there is no magic thread. 

Even with good intentions and the advantage of 
our experience, our advice is not always flawless. The 
best that we can do is guide our students so that they 
will keep as many options as possible open as long as 
possible so they do not find themselves in a dead-end 




The educational maze for the young woman has 
been, unfortunately, much simpler than for the young 
man. Many of the doors were already closed for her — 
by quota systems, legal and social barriers, overt dis- 
crimination. Our girls have been encouraged to pre- 
pare for careers in nursing, library service, social 
work, teaching, and secretarial work. They have been 
told by society, our legal structure, and our tax laws 
that their real role is marriage and motherhood. 

I recently ran across the school newspaper from my 
ninth grade. Each of the graduating ninth graders of 
1953 was asked his secret ambition. The one field most 
frequently mentioned was secretarial work. Twenty- 
four percent of the girls in my class gave this as their 
secret ambition. Some of them were quite precise 
about their interests: they wanted to work for a 
banker or lawyer or millionaire. (But they were not 
ambitious enough to sec themselves in those roles, 
only as supportive to them.) 

The second most popular field was nursing, chosen 
by 16 percent of the girls. By contrast the two most 
freqently mentioned fields among the boys were doc- 
tor and engineer, with 11 percent of the boys surxcyed 
choosing each of those two fields. Fourteen girls in 
that class said that their secret ambition was to get 
married. One boy mentioned his future marital status 
— he wanted to be a doctor with a beautiful wife. 

My class's secret ambition, viewed in retrospect, 
rather saddened me. At 13 or 14, young people should 
have ambitions that reflect a certain amount of imagi- 
nation and idealism. Not many of us realize our youth- 
ful goals; we seldom overreach them. 

Many a man who started out planning to be a brain 
surgeon has been a high school teacher instead. Many 
of the Spanish majors I advise at Rutgers started out 
in engineering. But the reverse is seldom true. The 
person who starts out in Spanish cannot easily switch 
to engineering. The person who has decided by ninth 
grade that she wants a secretarial career is not think- 
ing of college. She has already discarded a good many 
options relative to her future education and employ- 
ment. 15 

In the past few years, women have been protesting 
that they are underutilized in many fields— particu- 
larly those that require the greatest training and pay 
the highest salaries. They have said they arc dispro- 
portionately concentrated in the lowest paying, dead- 
end jobs. 

"True/* respond the critics, "but that is because 
women wanted nothing else. If women had wanted to 
be archilects or pharmacists, dentists or engineers, 
there would be women in those fields/' 

Despite the great pressure that has been placed on 
women to stay out of science, social science, and the 
professions, there have been women interested in 
those fields. And Ihere have been women who have 
survived'-Jn them. We do not lack feminine represen- 
tation in traditional male fields. But, unfortunately, it 
has been an uphill battle for many of these women. 

To go back to my ninth grade, I was most interested 
in finding that some of my classmates were noncon- 
formists. Of the six students who wanted to be lawyers, 
two were girls. Two girls also wanted to be doctors. 
The only person in the class who wanted to be a 
veterinarian was a girl. One girl wanted to be a coun- 
terspy, one wanted to be an FBI agent. Another said 
she would be a rancher. Those girls may have been the 
minority, but they at least had not yet accepted sexual 

As I look back, I find teachers and guidance coun- 
selors had an important role in the decisions that I 
made. My high school language teachers steered me 
into my present career by encouraging me to go on. 
My high school math teachers did not similarly en- 
courage me. And thus my field was chosen. 

I vividly recall an interview with the guidance 
counselor after taking a series of aptitude tests in 
tenth grade. She told me I had scored very high on the 
four tests taken into consideration in determining 
engineering aptitude, "But," she said, ''I know that 
you don't want to be an engineer." At age 15, 1 nodded 
my head in agreement and did not think about it again 
for years. 

Even the 97 percentile score that I received on the 
math aptitude test for my Graduate Record Exam — 

despite the tact that I never got as lar as calculus — 
did nut give ine pause. Now. 1 find that that little 
scene has jzreat signilicance tor me. It has been said 
that 40 percent ot the people in this country who show 
an aptitude for engineering in tests are women, but 
only one percent of our engineers are women. Women 
are not engineers because they have been steered out 
of the field. 

It may well be that my guidance counselor made 
the comment with the best of intentions. She un- 
doubtedly knew, as I did not al the lime, that many 
colleges of engmccnng did not admit women at all 
and that others required women applicants to be su- 
perior to men applicants for admission. She undoubt- 
edly knew that if I managed to get into and through 
engineering school, despite the obstacle course, many 
companies would not hire me, and if they did, they 
would pay me a lower salary than men. She was prob- 
ably giving realistic advice. 

Being realistic, she may well have told my class- 
mates who wanted to be lawyers to try another field 
instead. Law schools across the country have main- 
tained rigid quota systems against women, not allow- 
ing the percentage in any given class to approach 10 
percent. She perhaps told the same thing to the two 
girls who wanted to be doctors. And she would have 
been correct. 

As for the girl who wanted lo be an FBI agent, it 
was not until May 1972 that acting director Patrick 
Gray of the FBI indicated his willingness to hire 
women agents. J, Edgar Hoover had consistently 
barred women from the ranks. 

If the girls In my class took vocational preference 

tests, that too might have helped them change their 
minds about offbeat careers like rancher or veteri- 
narian. The widely used Strong Vocational Interest 
Test has two versions, one male and one female. Dr, 
Gloria Leon, a Rutgers University psychologist, re- 
cently analyzed the tv;o tests with the following 

"A comparison of the items in each section of the 
male and female versions of the Strong inventory 17 


reveals the pcn'asivc influence that sex role stereo- 
types have on the diflerentiat vocational expectations 
for men and women. The sex role biases inherent in 
this test range from the subtle to the blatantly 

"For example, it would be extremely difficult, on the 
basis of the Strong test results, to counsel a woman 
college student to choose a career in physics or engi- 
neering. The activity preferences the woman student 
is asked to rate arc oriented around traditionally 
feminine choices, such as fu''nishing and caring for a 
new home, or choosing between a preference for 
fashion magazines or household magazines. 

"Many of the item choices on the men's form arc 
related to expectations of traditional male vocational 
behavior, such as 'develop the theory of operation of 
a new machine/ or 'super\'ise the manufacture of a 
machine.' Although the women's form of the Strong 
inventory does contain some items related to male 
dominated careers, the majority of choices arc ori- 
ented toward subordinate vocational choices. 

"In every section of the inventory, the career choices 
listed for men and women channel the women's re- 
sponses into traditional and/or subordinate vocational 
interests. Whereas the males arc asked to choose be- 
tween 'travel to outer space' and 'explore bottom of 
ocean,' the women are asked to choose between 'be 
married to a rancher' and 'be married to a corporation 
president.' " 

The girl in my class may have taken that test and 
realizec* that she should not want to be the rancher 
herself, but rather the wife of the rancher. 

Opportunities for women have, indeed, been limited. 
Certain fields have systematically discriminated 
against women — and educators have advised women 
accordingly. The combination has helped to perpetu- 
ate sexual stereotyping in education and employment. 
It is not by accident that only three countries in the 
world have a lower percentage of women doctors 
than the United States: Spain, Madagascar, and South 
Vietnam. It is not by accident that we have a lower 
percentage of women lawyers than most European 
18 countries. 


It is no! by accident that women have been Icsing 
ground in many fields. A hundred years ago, one-third 
of the college teachers in the Uniled SlaCcs wtrc 
women* Now, the figure is less than onc-fiflh. Fifty 
years ago most elemenlary school principals were 
women. Today, 80 percent of the elementary school 
principals are men. 

In fact, women may well be doing worse in those 
ver>' fields that they have considered their own. 
Eighty precenl of librarians are women. But two- 
thirds of the head librarians of city and univcrsiiy 
libraries are men. Rulgcrs University is one of only 
two major university syslems in the U.S. wilh a 
woman head librarian. 

In field aflcr field, women are concentralcd in Ihe 
bottom ranks and are paid less than men for doing 
the same work. In fad, according to government 
statistics, a woman has to have a college degree in 
order to earn as much as a man with an eighth-grade 

Ten years ago sex dlscrlmliiatlon was widespread 

and legal. Today it is widespread and illegal. While it 
used to be a fact of life, it need no longer be. The 
advice that was in the best interests of our young 
women a decade or two ago must now be changed. 
We must now '.ncourage our women students to 
choose paths lhat were formerly closed to them. 

For example, we are seeing a revolution in Ihe law 
schools. The Rulgers Law School al Newark adopted 
a new admissions policy giving equal consideration 
to women applicanls. The result Ihe firsi year was a 
1971 entering class lhat was 40 percent women. Other 
law schools are following suit. The legal profession is 
no longer closed to all but Ihe most outstanding 

The medical profession should soon be following the 
example of our law school » too. Since November 1971 » 
wtlh passage of the Comprehensive Heallh Manpower 
Training Act» schools of medicine, denlistr>\ phar- 
macy» velerinarv' medicine, and nursing can no longer 
qualify for federal funds if Ihey discriminate in admis- 
sions on the basis of sex. 19 


Although this law is not yet being effectively en- 
forced and although some of the medical schools seem 
determined to fight it, women's rights groups are on 
the job to see that discriminatory quota systems are 
wiped out. 

Guidance counselors, however, must also take an 
active role in bringing more women into the medical 
profession. Now, because only 10 percent of the appli- 
cants to some medical schools are women, these 
schools claim they are not to blame. It is up to coun- 
selors to break up this vicious cycle. 

In the past few years, hundreds of colleges and uni- 
versities holding federal contracts have been investi- 
gated by the U.S, Department of Health, Education, 
and V/clfare on charges of sex discrimination. There is 
strong hope that academic women will soon no longer 
be concentrated in the bottom ranks of college teach- 
ing. Other fields that should be opening up to women 
because of new legislation will be government service 
and management. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Act, signed by 
President Nixon in March 1972, extends the coverage 
of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and hence 
the jurisdiction of the Equal Employment Opportun- 
ity Commission to public employees, educators, and 
professional level people. 

While there have in the past been virtually no wom- 
en in top executive positions either in government or 
in private business, today the very companies that 
most actively excluded women from such positions in 
the past are now most under pressure to promote 

A few years ago it was common practice to bar 
women from management trainee programs. Today 
such a practice is illegal. Any company that insists 
upon doing so is open to government investigation 
and court suits. 

It is also true that employers may no longer force 
pregnant employees to quit their jobs. And new EEOC 
guidelines on sex discrimination indicate we soon may 
have paid maternity leaves. 

Some headway is apparent also in the area of equal 
pay, at least among new hires. The average starting 

monthly pay ofTercd to women college graduates dif- 
fers only a few dollars from that of men in most fields. 
The only field in which there is still an appreciable 
gap is sales and marketing, where the men are offered 
$70 a month more. 

It is extremely important that some previously male 
fields are opening up to women, particularly at a time 
when there may be diminished opportunities in teach- 
ing, the field which has absorbed up to the present 
the highest numbers of college-trained women. Labor 
Department projections indicate there will be good 
opportunities in law, the health professions, and busi- 
ness into the I980's. But there may be serious prob- 
lems for people seeking teaching positions. 

A young woman interested in education would be 
well advised to think of special education, preschool 
education, college teaching, or school administration, 
rather than regular classroom teaching at the elemen- 
tary school or high school level. Or she might plan, 
instead, for a career in medicine, dentistrv. veterinary 
medicine, or business, where there will still be good 
opportunities when she graduates. While schools of 
business administration very recently still discrimi- 
nated against women applicants, they are now under 
pressure to actively recruit qualified women students. 

Looking back, some of my ninth-grade classmates 

were thinking of marriage instead of a career. Our 
young women today must be told that not only is it 
possible to have both a career and marriage, but that 
most likely they will work whether or not they mcirry. 

Moreover, demographers tell us that there are in- 
creasing numbers of women in their early 20's who are 
remaining single. Women today constitute almost 40 
percent of the Amcncan work force — and more than 
50 percent of the female population between the ages 
of 18 and 64 are working. While most career women 
50 years ago were single — in part because employers 
frequently fired women if they married and certainly 
if they became pregnant — today the working woman 
is just as likely to be married. 

More women are also combining motherhood and 
work. There are 18 million mothers working who have 

children under 18 years of age, and each year sees a 
greater number of women with preschool children 
entering the work force. Women no longer work until 
they catch a husband and then stay home. Typically 
they work for a few years before their children are 
born. They have fewer children than women did be- 
fore, and their childbearing is over by the time they 
are 30, They tend to reenter the work force by the age 
of 35 and continue to work until retirement. 

If a young woman knows that she is going to work 
for 30 or more years, she will realize that she must 
prepare for a challenging career — not simply settle for 
a temporary or dead-end job. 

The more education a woman receives, the more 
likely she is to work. While only 17 percent of the 
women with less than an eighth grade education work 
outside the home, slightly more than half of the wom- 
en with a college degree are in the work force at any 
given time. The figure rises to 71 percent of women 
with five years of college and 91 percent of women 
holding doctorates. 

Educators must take active steps to encourage girls 
to follow their interests and abilities, not assume that 
because they are female they do not want to study 
math or science but would rather specialize in English 
or Spanish, 

Look around you with a new awareness. Make sure 
your school understands its role in improving the 
status of women in our society. Check the vocational 
preference tests used at your school and make sure 
they do not have a se,K bias and are interpreted fairly. 
Examine the textbooks used and see if they have a 
sexist orientation. If they do, write to the publisher 
and urge him. to revise the material. 

If problems stem from parental attitudes, perhaps 
your school can plan a special kind of career day pro- 
gram — including parents — which will stress the chang- 
ing roies of women in our society. 

Above all, let the young women whose lives you are 
helping to shape know that all fields are now open to 
them, that their choices are limited only by their own 
interests, talents, and motivation. 

4. A Childs 
Eye View of 
Sex Roles 

By Lynne B, Iglitzin 

In 1971 and 1972, two studies dealing with sex 
stereotyping were conducted on schoolchildren in 
three suburbs of Seattle. In the first study, 290 
fifth graders (141 boys. 149 girls) took part; in the sec- 
ond study, 147 fifth graders (80 boys, 67 girls). 

The first study (in which I collaborated with 

sociologist Judith Fiedler) involved a series of ques- 
tions designed to show sex stereotyping based on 
views of career and employment patterns, social roles 
in home and family, and the child's view of his/her 
future life as an adult. Both boys and girls demon- 
strated sex stereotyping (as measured by the response 
"men" or "women" rather than "either" or "both" to 
the questions). However, significantly higher propor- 
tions of girls had nonstereotyped responses in all 
Career and employment patterns. We gave the chil- 
dren a h'st of jobs and asked them to indicate whether 
"men," "women," or "both men and women" should 
perform these tasks. A majority of both sexes thought 
that bosses, taxi drivers, mayors, factory workers, 
and lawyers should be men and that nurses and 
house cleaners should be women. 

Stereotyping was common for both boys and girls. 
In fact, in some cases, girls were even less inclined 
than boys to see traditionally masculine jobs become 23 


feminine jobs. For example, 3.6 percent of the boys said 
mayors should be women, but only 2 percent of the 
girls said this. Although girls were as little inclined as 
boys to reverse sex roles in traditionally sex-tied jobs, 
girls were much more willing to see jobs open to 
cither sex. 

Home and family. The results for thiii part of the 
study showed that fifth graders have been thoroughly 
inculcated with a sex-typed view of home and house- 
hold: Women wash dishes, cook, dust, scrub floors, 
and get up at night with a sick child. Men pay bills, 
fix things, and weed the yard. The men's list was 
shorter than the women's — even taking out the gar- 
bage was bestowed by our children on women! Girls' 
views were as traditional as boys', though the girls 
showed a slightly greater tendency to see both par- 
ents performing household tasks. 

Personality traits. At least 60 percent of the girls 
saw themselves as kinder, better behaved, more 
serious, and better in math than boys; by a smaller 
majority the girls thought they "figured things out" 
better, too. The majority of girls saw boys as fighting 
more and as better in science. Children of both sexes 
tended to see most traits as distinctly masculine or 
feminine, though they did not always agree on which 
sex should be linked to a particular trait. The aggres- 
sive-gentleness continuum offered a striking example 
of agreement by both sexes: Close to 90 percqni of 
boys and girls saw boys as fighting more, and about 
75 percent of boys and 85 percent of girls saw girls as 

Although the girls in the sample were traditional 
in their sex-typed view of some personality traits, 
more of them saw both sexes exhibiting these traits. 

Sex typing in girls* view of their future. The pattern 
of traditional sex typing which emerged in girls' views 
of social roles and personality traits carried over into 
their career aspirations and descriptions of their lives 
as adults. While the boys wanted to be craftsmen, 
engineers or scientists, professionals (doctors, law- 
yers, dentists), sportsmen, and pilots, the girls wanted 
to be teachers, artists, stewardesses, nurses, and veter- 
24 inarians. 


Overall, the girls had varied job and career aspira- 
tions, albeit heavily weighted toward traditional fe- 
male occupations. They seemed in little doubt that 
they would have careers. Only 6 percent said they 
would be simply a mother or a housewife. 

Yet when we correlated the career-choice question 
with an open-ended essay, "Imagine you are grown 
up. Describe how you would spend a typical day/* a 
different picture emerged. The girls showed a marked 
discrepancy between their stated career goals and 
their descriptions of an actual day. 

Girls in the sample emphasized marriage and family 
much more than boys in the sample. Despite the small 
number (6 percent) who said they would be house- 
wives and mothers, well over 25 percent of the girls 
(compared to 10 percent of the boys) made marriage 
and family the predominant focus of their projected 
day. and an even larger group (38 percent of the girls, 
compared to 14 percent of the boys) emphasized de- 
tails of family life in their descriptions. In contrast, 
boys overwhelmingly ignored domestic life — well over 
83 percent (compared to 63 percent of the girls) gave 
no details of family activities and fewer than one- 
fourth even mentioned marriage or family. 

Typically, many of the girls commented extensively 
and in detail on housewifely routine. Even girls who 
had chosen a variety of careers in the earlier question 
saw themselves doing traditional "women's work" 
around the house. In fact, for many, the description 
of the household chores seemed far more salient 
than the job. A girl who had said she wanted to be "an 
artist, maybe a beautician" d<"<icribed her typical day 
as follows: 

I would start the morning after getting out of bed by 
eating breakfast. Then I would clean house. If I was done 
before lunch I would probably visit a friend. Then eat 
lunch. After lunch I would go shopping. Then I would 
come home and rest for a while. When my husband came 
home (if I was married) he would probably tell me how 
his day went and I would tell him how mine went. If he 
was in a real good mood he would take me out to dinner. 
When we were done with dinner we would go to a movie. 
Then we would go home and go to bed. 25 


Boys tended much more to focus exclusively on de- 
tails of job and career. The following statement by a 
boy who wants to be a lawyer and who never dis- 
cusses marriage, family, or home was quite typical: 

I would talk to my clients on what their problems were. 
If I thought his thoughts were right I would explain the 
right procedures to take depending on his problems, and 
I would fight for his thoughts. 

The comments of girls who said they wanted to be 
housewives could be described as typical of persons 
leading what has been called the "contingent life" — 
seeing one's actions as derived from and dependent 
on the wishes of others. Thus such statements as "I 
would tr>' to please my husband" or "If my children 
wanted to" were common in their essays. 

This study indicated that the degree of traditional 

sex stereotyping of the major social roles in society 
is very strong by the fifth grade level. 

Of particular interest is the fact that so many of the 
girls clearly opted for career choices that they appear 
to be unwilling or unable to translate into conse- 
quences in their own lives. 

What is the explanation for this dichotomy between 
career choice and visualization of future life that our 
data showed applied unequally to the boys and girls 
in our sample? It appears that social stereotypes 
restrict girls in expressing a free choice of future 
roles. If this is true, it may be that the first question, 
"What would you like to be when you grow up?" by 
suggesting that such decisions are possible, permitted 
the girls freedom to state their wildest wishes. The 
later question, however, brought them down to earth 
by asking them to imagine a typical day. The realities 
of societal pressure took over, they saw themselves 
doing things women always do, and thus fell back into 
the traditional activities society sanctions for women. 

In our view, the most significant finding of all was 
that the girls were consistently less stereotyped in 
their views than the boys. This was a puzzh'ng finding 
that we were at a loss to explain, particularly in view 
of the literature that attests to women as traditional 
26 bearers and upholders of conservative values. 


One variable that seemed to be relevant in determin- 
ing which children had less traditional sex-stereo- 
typed attitudes was whether or not their mothers 
worked. As other studies have shown, our data indi- 
cated that children with working mothers — especially 
girls — had more liberal views on roles of men and 
women in society. 

A year later, I decided to try a follow-up study 
in the same schools and with the same age children to 
determine what effect, if any, the strongly stereotyped 
views children hold have on their political attitudes 
and beliefs. More particularly, my interest was with 
girls, who had always emerged as less politically in- 
terested and aware than boys in previous socialization 
studies. I wondered whether a relationship exists be- 
tween strong adherence to traditional feminine values 
and weak political interest among girls. 

As in the 1971 study, the new questionnaire dealt 
with children's own view of their future roles in job 
and family; the degree of openness/stereotyping in 
their view of social roles for men and women; and, 
new in this study, a series of questions designed to 
explore their political information and awareness. 

Sex differences and political responses. A number 
of questions attempted to deal with the degree of 
stereotyping in children's views of both public and 
private roles. [ was curious to see if the sexual di- 
vision of labor that we had seen extended into family 
and social roles also held true for the civil and politi- 
cal areas. 

The democratic norm of equal opportunity implies 
that anyone can be President, a goal theoretically 
open to both sexes. Which was more salient for the 
girls, the rhetoric of equal access or the reality of male 
dominance in virtually all positions of political power? 
For boys, the log-cabin-to-Presidency myth or an im- 
penetrable "power elite"? Do U-year-oIds find the 
prospect of becoming powerful political leaders some- 
day attractive? What degree of realism do they have 
about their actual chances of attaining such posts? 

To get answers to some of these queries, I asked 
a number of questions dealing with national and local 27 


politics. First, I asked the children to assume that 
they were adults and could choose any political job, 
such as President, governor, judge, head of the school 
board, and mayor. Strikingly, well over half of the chil- 
dren picked none of these posts. Strong sex differ- 
ences were apparent in the answers of those who 
picked political jobs, however. Although about the 
same small proportion of boys and girls chose Presi- 
dent, a sizable number of boys wanted to be mayor, 
yet not a single girl chose this. For girls, the popular 
choices were head of the school board and judge. 

Then, I asked the children to assess which of the 
positions they thought they had a realistic chance of 
attaining. Here I wanted to find out if the girls, more 
than the boys, would sense the great difficulty of 
achieving these high prestige roles in our society. 
This pattern did not occur. Percentages were almost 
identical to the previous question. 

Several interpretations are possible. Probably many 
of the children did not understand the concept of 
"realistic" and simply copied the answer they had 
given in the previous question. Or else, their political 
concepts are still so naive that they truly think they 
can become anything they want to be. Or maybe their 
initial choices are already calibrated to what is pos- 
sible: They sense the impossibility of the "you-too-can- 
be-President-someday" myth and refuse to play that 

Other sex differences emerged that were in line with 
previous socialization studies. When asked to decide 
why they might vote for a candidate, girls were more 
likely to choose candidates who were peace-oriented 
and honest and sincere. Over twice as many boys as 
girls chose the candidate whose ideas would con- 
tribute to the country's economic wealth. 

I drew up a composite index to include the deter- 
minants of political information and awareness. The 
information score consisted of correct answers to the 
various political identification questions; the aware- 
ness score was composed of any response other than 
"don't know" to the various questions dealing with 
voting and elections. On each of these scores, the 
28 girls did more poorly than the boys. 


In areas beside the political, sex stereotyping was 
as strong in the attitudes of these children as it had 
been in their counterparts the year before. Girls saw 
themselves eventually marr>ing and having children; 
boys saw themselves as adults in terms of jobs. 
Over half the children thought only men should do 
certain jobs and only women, certain others. A very 
low 10.6 percent of the girls and 14,7 percent of the 
boys said a woman should work "anytime she wants 

Stereotyping and politicalization. Once the existence 
of sex differences had been established, I attempted 
to see if a common variable, stereotyping, could be 
isolated as a determinant of low politicalization. The 
measurement of stereotyping was the degree to which 
the children saw social roles (housework, medical 
care, and so on) in the traditional terms of sexual 
dichotomy. For ail the children, I matched the stereo- 
typing index against the separate political information 
and awareness indices and, in addition, for girls, I 
matched the femininity index (measured by their ad- 
herence to traditional female careers and values) 
against the political scores. 

Results were inconclusive. Stereotyping clearly 
exists, but the data did not show any strong relation- 
ship with level of political information and awareness 
except in a few cases at the extremes. 

The main concern was to see the effect of stereotyp- 
ing and feminizing influences upon the girls. Here 
girls did seem more strongly affected than did boys. 
There were some indications that girls who had the 
least narrowly feminine aspirations scored higher on 
political information and awareness, but the relation- 
ship was weak. Similarly, the occupation of the 
mother (housewife vs. job holder) clearly affected 
the girls' aspirations and degree of stereotyping but 
was less apparent in influencing their politicalization 
scores. In contrast to the earlier study, such a small 
percent of the mothers of these girls were job holders 
that it would be misleading to draw any conclusions 
based on the daughters of working mothers. 

Summary. The expected strong sex differences on 
political, social, and economic roles in society 

emerged. Moreover, the existence of very strong sex 
typing in children's views of jobs and functions in 
the world, as well as their own personal role within 
it had been again confirmed. But the hoped for cor- 
relation between stereotyping and feminization in the 
girls as an explanation for their low politicalization 
scores proved inconclusive. 

Why? Two explanations arc possible. First, very few 
of the girls identified themselves in terms other than 
marriage and family; the sample failed to turn up 
more than a tiny handful of girls who had not been 
feminized. Therefore, comparisons weren't possible. 

Second, perhaps the questionnaire reflects an un- 
conscious ideology of sexism because of the sexist 
subject matter with which the questions concern 
themselves. (Before undertaking the study, I had at- 
tempted to control for sexist language. For example, I 
used "he/she" instead of the ubiquitous "he** and in- 
cluded women as examples of political leaders.) The 
subject matter of the questionnaire, as well as that of 
others dealing with this same subject, is male-oriented 
because political posts have historically always been 
occupied by men. 

When politics is conceptualized in terms of power, 
aggression, and conflict, it is not surprising that 
women, trained in submissiveness, dependence, and 
passivity, should find little in it to interest them. 

For too long, political scientists have focused only 
on the macro level of politics, dealing with formal 
power as exercised in institutions and by government 
officials. It is no wonder that children, and indeed 
many adults, feel alienated and removed from its con- 
cerns. Political scientists need to emphasize the micro 
level of politics — power hierarchies in family, peer 
groups, and classrooms. Undoubtedly, children can tell 
political scientists a great deal about this dimension 
of politics. 

5. Sexiial Politics 
in the 


By Sheila Tobias 

I became Interested in sexual politics in the class- 
room while teaching the first course on women's 
studies at Cornell in 1970. 1 was struck then by the 
fact that se.vrole socialization is viewed as taking 
place primarily in early childhood. What also struck 
me was the fact that most psychologists ignore the 
degree to which adult experiences reinforce that so- 
cialization. As we know, little girls are rewarded for 
docility, passivity, and dependence, while little boys 
are rewarded for assertiveness and independence, and 
such training carries over into behavioral charac- 
teristics of adults. Yet. experiences in the world of 
work, and in higher education, give enormous support 
to those views we have learned to accept earlier as 

Sexual politics on the Job is obvious. Examine any 
large organization, where it is easy to see the intense 
and almost perfect segregation of jobs by sex. Look 
at the jobs in a university and notice that in those 
categories occupied by women, there are almost no 
men. Clerical stafTs are predominantly women. By con- 
trast, in training programs for management, men pre- 
dominate. Any obser\*er must see that it is not by 
accident that, in the eyes of a corporation, female ap- 
plicants only qualify for jobs that are "female" and 
men for jobs that are "male/' A plausible explanation 31 

is that roles arc played in an organization parallel to 
those in the family. "Mommy*' has tasks that "Daddy" 
never docs— and vice versa. Thus the notion is rein- 
forced that what women do, men don't do. 

Another phenomenon at work is what I call "satel* 
litism/' occurring when a male, admittedly higher in 
qualifications, is surrounded by females who assist 
him and reflect his "glory/* Antidiscrimination laws 
are Ineffective remedies because the females ^re less 
qualified than the male. Moreover, satellitism furthers 
the notion that men are superior to women. By con- 
trast, somewhere in the organization there is an 
equally qualified female who could be surrounded by 
less qualified men, but as we know, this never occurs. 
Another aspect of adult role playing is that women are 
almost never put into authority over men. For those 
of you who have read Kate Millett's Sexual Politics, 
you will remember that she notes in Chapter Two 
that the conventional wisdom explains se.x differences 
as follows: Women are born with certain behavioral 
characteristics which fit them for their adult roles. 
They are nurturant, dependent, nonaggressive. Then 
the roies they assume as wives and mothers divert 
them from the centers of pow*er. The key advancement 
years in vocations and politics are from 25 to 35, but 
these are precisely the years when women are outside 
the profession. Every university or school system 
wants a young president or superintendent with 15 
years experience post Ph.D., and this effectively ex- 
cludes mothers w*ho have taken 5 to 10 years off. 

Millctt has taken the scheme whereby temperament 
leads to role and role leads to status and turned it on 
its head. She hypothesizes that since men wish to re- 
main superior in power and status, they assign women 
to roles that will keep them from competing with 
them. The role of mother keeps them in the home; the 
role of wife keeps them primarily in a support posi- 
tion relative to a man's career. And, in order to keep 
them from rebelling, she further hypothesizes, men 
persuade women that they have temperamental char- 
acteristics that unfit them for anything else. The 
female, as Matina Homer says, is in a double bind: 
32 if she shows these characteristics that arc regarded 


by professionals as competent, she is doomed to be 
called unfeminine: it she shows feminine character* 
tstics she will not be successful. 

Male and female children arc afTected by sex stereo- 
typing long before they reach college. At the elcmen- 
tar>* level girls are rewarded for neatness, docility, 
obedience, passivity, and following instructions both 
inside and outside of school. Thus, they experience 
little dissonance. Meanwhile boys are rewarded out- 
side ol schiKjl for the opposite kinds of behavior, 
which results in considerable conflict for the elemen- 
tar>' schm)l boy. Females outdistance males in grade- 
point averages in elemeniarx* school and through high 
schmil. hut grades still rcllect docility, obedience, and 
the special ability to produce what the teacher wants. 

In college an opposite reward system begins to take 
place as the professors give recognition to intellectual 
aggressiveness, to ideas that are new, different, pro- 
vocative, and challenging. This is (he kind of behavior, 
though disobedient in a sense, that is reinforced in the 
world outside the classroom as male, and is rewarded 
on the job as well. You know the cliches: This young 
man has ideas. He thinks for himself. At this point it is 
the female who experiences conflict, for her docility is 
not rewarded in college as it was in the past. More- 
over, when she docs manifest behavior that is recog- 
nized as original and brilliant, she runs the risk of 
being considered bizarre. 

Women are conditioned to avoid conflict, and if true 
to their sex role, they must be pacifiers. To the female 
intellectual or professional, this presents almost as 
serious a drawback as outright discrimination. Women 
will not get anywhere if they cannot think for them- 
selves, if they are not aggressive about their interests, 
and if they are not willing to engage in intellectual 

One obvious corrective to this situation is the 
teacher who will bend over backwards to challenge 
good intellects into nottscx-slcrcotypcd behavior. An- 
other corrective is the college teacher who learns to 
identify with women students. As teachers of women, 
men must conquer their beliefs that women are so 33 

different from them, and women teachers who are 
misogynists need to be confronted with their own 

Still another corrective measure that would help 
women succeed in college and in the profession would 
be an affirmative action program on the part of the 
university to hire more women as faculty members 
and as high level administrators. Women are needed 
as role models in such positions. Not only would 
female students benefit from such action, but also 
male students who need to encounter women in posi- 
tions of authority. 

The curriculum also socializes college students, and 
unless corrections are made, will continue to reinforce 
traditional sex roles and sex differences. Women's 
studies can provide a fundamental critique of the in- 
herent sexism in the traditional curriculum, but unless 
compensation is made for earlier omissions of factual 
material concerning women throughout the broad 
range of disciplines, women will continue to be 
ignored and repressed. Notable among the disciplines 
requiring such curriculum revision are history, litera- 
ture, psychology, and the social sciences. 

One other area in which universities reinforce sex- 
typed preferences is one so familiar to you that I will 
not dwell on it, and that is the area of sex-typed fields 
of specialization. To give you an idea of how the as- 
sumptions that certain fields are masculine and others 
feminine become self-fulfilling prophecies, here are 
some statistics of earned doctorates in America from 
I960 to 1968: 11 percent of the doctorates in all the 
natural sciences went to women; 30 percent of the 
doctorates in education went to women; 20 to 25 per- 
cent of the doctorates in social sciences went to wo- 
men; and 30 percent of the doctorates in the human- 
ities went to women. 

The final area of adult socialization of college stu- 
dents is what I call the "wider v;orld," and it is one 
for which we cannot hold •the university entirely re- 
sponsible. Nevertheless, I would demand of the univer- 
sity that it experiment with nonsexist ideolog>' and hir- 
ing policies. I would ask that the university stand be- 
fore the world as an example of how an institution can 

function in an egalitarian fashion. It should be the 
placj where innovations in the curriculum are tried. 
It should be the first institution to initiate part-time 
full-status work for women professionals as well as 
the first to initiate child care as a regular part of the 
benelu structure. 

Though more women go to college than ever before, 
we are not getting out of them the kind of professional 
commitment that earlier generations produced, be- 
cause their upward mobility is blocked by sexual 
politics in the classroom, on the job, and in our so- 
ciety. Although 80 to 90 percent of women with doc- 
torates work full-lime, few are college presidents. 
Only three women have ever been state governors, 
and two have been senators. Recently a greater num- 
ber of women have held seats in the House. Oppor- 
tunities must be opened and women educated for the 



6. School 
Athletics and Sex 

f all the aspects of American life in which women 

are shortchanged, none is more glaring or more 

damaging than the area of physical develop- 
ment. In the prestigious world of American sports 
women are not even second-class citizens. My thesis 
is that our culture has systematically underdeveloped 
the physical prowess and skills of females, and that 
the effects of this underdevelopment are serious and 
many-faceted. I further believe that the failure of the 
wider society to permit women full human status — 
the right to be mature, responsible adults — is well 
illustrated through this microcosm. 

Women arc denied the opportunity for healthful, 
exciting self-expression through physical activity in 
many ways. From the moment of birth, infant girls 
are handled more gently than infant boys. Through 
nursery school days, girJs are told and expected to 
stay clean and neat, not be noisy, play with dolls and 
dishes instead of trucks and footballs, and follow in- 
structions. Snowballing, tree-climbing, and just goof* 
ing around in innumerable independent, unstructured 
physical play activities are reserved for boys, and little 
girls are being carefully and irrevocably programmed 
to be "young ladies." 

By elementary school the plot really begins to 
thicken. The school system begins to groom the boys 
for the all-important star-studded teams of high 
school, college, and professional days ariead. 

By Kathrxn F. Clarenbach 

"Coaches" suddenly appear for third grade boys, and 
the disparity between budget, facilities, space, and 
equipment for boys and girls begins. We are so ac- 
customed to huge expenditures for all-male athletic 
teams that it never occurs to us that this is an injus- 
tice that we endorse and help perpetuate. Just as our 
schools help create dependent women by denying 
them training in the very useful areas of shop and 
auto mechanics and by giving them limited if any 
professional aspirations, so they contribute to de- 
pendence and acceptance of second-class status in 
their total athletic programs. 

Let's take a little closer look at what does happen 
to girls in our grade and high school physical educa- 
tion programs. Maybe, if they're lucky, the girls can 
use the quarter-of-a-million dollar gym one lunch 
period a week. If scheduled a full year in advance 
maybe they can have one Saturday Play Day a year 
with girls from another school — provided of course 
they abide by the state rules and have no publicity, no 
spectators, and no prizes or awards. 

What happens in the physical education classes for 
girls? Whoever prepared the manuals or decided on 
course content must be someone who never was a 
kid and who has taken a sacred oath against having 
fun. My two daughters and their friends have been 
graded on the number of showers they take, whether 
they remember to have their gym suits laundered and 
tennies whitened each month, how many seconds they 
can hang by their arms on wall bars, and how fast 
they run sixty yards and get dressed afterwards. Both 
my girls are strong swimmers, excellent water and 
snow skiers, skillful at ping pong, good at bowling 
and tennis; neither one of them has ever had one 
minute of these activities in phys ed, except for an 
elective quarter in college. They were taught the rules 
of soccer from A to Z, but have never encountered a 
soccer game since leaving sixth grade. 

The overemphasis on protecting girls from strain or 
injury and undereinphasis on developing skills and 
experiencing teamwork fits neatly into the pattern of 
the second sex. Hven so, girls are usually at least not 
subjected to some of the machismo-oriented, pseudo- 


military regimens which often permeate boys* ath- 
letics. Our son's third-grade "coach** was a former 
marine whose favorite punishment for these eight- 
year-old boys was to send them through the mill. 
When our David refused to hit his friends, already 
demeaned by having to crawl on hands and knees be- 
tween the legs of their classmates, he himself was 
punished for this "insubordination** with the same 

Later, in junior high, it was his misfortune to have 
the same coach, who was on the familiar (and for-men- 
only) coach to counselor to principal route. Our whole 
family was wearing "End the War" buttons; when 
David was called to be timed for the 100 yard dash, 
the coach snarled: "OK, Clarenbach, let*s see how fast 
you can run out of Vietnam.** What little heart Dave 
had for the race was gone with such public ridicule, 
and he ran badly. 

I don't claim that the military mentality prevails 
universally in boys* athletics. I do believe theie is far 
too much emphasis on the development of this and 
certain other so-called "masculine" qualities and 
values which are already too dominant in our society. 
Winning is all, and if it involves brutality, hostility, 
cruelty, permanent injuries, lack of compassion, un- 
ethical sly practices, so be it. It is incredible that our 
nation could accord the same national mourning for 
a beloved coach that it does for a head of state. I 
would far prefer that women did nothing more than 
tatting or quilting than be encouraged to emulate 
these aspects of the masculine mystique. 

Meanwhile, girls are the spectators and the cheer- 
leaders. They organize the pep clubs, sell pompoms, 
make cute abbreviated costumes, strut a bit between 
halves, and idolize the current football hero. Perfect 
preparation for the adult role of women — to stand 
decoratively on the sidelines of history and cheer on 
the men who make decisions, to be the nurse to the 
doctor, hygienist to the dentist, secretary to the boss, 
to live vicariously through father, husband, or son, to 
do the fund raising and circulate petitions for the 
men who run for office and fill executive posts. It 
only puzzles me that some enterprising coach hasn*t 

enlisted willing young women to replace Waterboys 
and towel wielders. 

I shall long remember the 1968 Olympics in Mexico 

when several contestants in women's events were sub- 
jected to chromosome tests to verify their sex. One 
could only conclude that women were not expected 
to perform that well. Certainly American women are 
excluded as far as possible from many events even 
when they qualify (witness the jockeys and umpires). 
Apparently prestige or income — maybe both — are 
jeopardized in men's eyes with the invasion of women. 
If a woman can to it well, it must not be such a trick 
after all. This undervaluing o2 women and whatever 
they do also keeps women out of commercial piloting 
and virtually out of mcdicme, science, laws, politics, 
and engineering. By opening up the highly visible 
arena of sports and athletics to women, we may help 
of demolish the fears and the patterns of discrimina- 
tion so prevalent elsewhere. 

When women do succeed in tennis, gotf, skating, 
diving, swimming, the rewards are rarely those of 
their male counterpart. Even Sports Illustrated noted 
the unjust inequities in tournament purses for men 
and women. Who ever heard of a female athlete in any 
event earning a six-digit salary? In fact, the only way 
a woman can qualify for the added thousands our 
athletes reap doing TV commercials is to be mistaken 
for her shapely teen-age daughter. 

Even within the same college or high school, the 
incomes of men and women phys ed instructors tend 
to have considerable disparity. In those states that 
permit interscholastic sports for girls, their teams are 
coached by men. These are the same patterns that 
exist throughout our entire economy, where 75 per- 
cent of the 30 million employed women are in low- 
paid, dead-end occupations; twice as many women as 
men live in poverty; the largest group of unemployed 
are girls 16-22; and women and their children com- 
prise 80 percent of our welfare rolls. 

These are the results of an educational system 
which docs not develop independence and skills in 
women and which teaches women that it is unfeminine 
to achieve or to demand equal opportunity. 39 



7. Roles, Labels, 
A Counselor's 

By Barbara Cook 

How can a counselor most effectively work with 
men and women students in helping them find 
individual identities — sometimes in contradic- 
tion of the roles dictated by society? 

• What should it mean to the counselor to have an 
increased awareness of culturally defined roles for 
men and women? 

• How may a counselor increase her or his own aware- 

• How does the counselor's self-concept affect his or 
her ability to help individual men and women find 
answers to their individual problems? 

A recent survey done at my own institution 
shows that out of a faculty of 1,429, only 175 are 
women; 42 percent of our instructors are women; 14 
percent of our assistant professors are women; 6.5 
percent of our associate professors are women; and 
3 percent of our full professors are women — an ap- 
palling significant decrease as the ranks become 
higher. We have six department heads who are wo- 
men — all in the fields of home economics, nursing, and 
physical education for women. These are actual figures 
even though our student population is one-third 
40 femaleJ 


The national figures show that it takes a female as- 
sociate professor three times as long on the average 
to be promoted as it does a male associate professor. 
Sueh figures are familiar, so I will concentrate on the 
methods, techniques, and education necessary to 
prevent their continued occurrence. I quote them only 
as one small example of the enormous job yet to be 
done, the wasted talent, the undeveloped aspiration, 
and the way the humanness of both men and women 
is damaged in our society by sexual stereotyping. 

There is no doubt that discriminatory policies as 
they alTcct women are receiving a good bit of atten- 
tion nowadays. The Department of Health, Education, 
and Welfare has published guidelines for educational 
institutions and is insisting upon "positive, aflirmative 
action" to the fair employment of women in terms of 
representative numbers, opportunities, and salaries. 
Women's organizations, concerned with all facets of 
women's lives, are proliferating and are beginning to 
take some aflirmative action themselves. Perhaps the 
most significant quality, however, of most of the wo- 
men's movements is "that most women's organiza- 
tions are refusing to make the self-defeating mistake 
of earlier feminist movements — which focused on the 
uniqueness of women. More wisely the new women 
arc declaring that they are human beings, equally so 
with men, and they promise emancipation from stereo- 
typing for both sexes." - 

In some of the recent literature, both scholarly and 
militant, the idea of the caste-like status of women and 
blacks has been given new attention. Helen Hacker 
first wrote about this in 1951.** Her model has been 
expanded and used by a number of writers to show 
the conscious or unconscious ''rationalization of 
status" — the ascribed attitudes, the social visibility, 
the accommodation attitudes, the discriminations. A 
strong cultural prescription of roles dictates appro- 
priate behavior not only for women and blacks, but 
also for men, for whites, and even for age groups — 
most notably the young. This prescription of roles is 
currently under attack by militant and/or concerned 
groups. This battle was waged first by the blacks 
through their acts of civil disobedience in Montgom- 41 


cry, then by the young with their insistence on "par- 
ticipatory democracy" — a giving to ordinary people 
of a real voice in the decision-making process. Now, 
finally, women arc fighting on many fronts for legal 
equality as well as for free choice in the self-determina- 
tion of their individual lives. 

All three of these lecent movements, occurring in 
increased strength since 1955, are speaking to the same 
principle — one that is at the very foundation of the 
education profession: the right of each individual to 
attain maximum development. (1 am amazed daily 
that the precepts that student personnel workers 
have been endorsing since the 1920*s have now become 
so much a part of the liberal-radical movements in 
educational reform. The real tragedy is that most of 
us don't even recognize them.) But a new and impor- 
tant dimension has been added to this fundamental 
concept: the right of each individual to attain maxi- 
mum development according to his or her abilities, 
desires, efforts, and aspirations, not according to a 
social or sexual role prescribed by society. 

As counselors, we must clearly understand what 
Robert Blackburn describes as "The Moral Revolu- 
tion" in the November 1970 AAHE College and Uni- 
versity Bulletin, Blackburn delineates eight new 
values, six of which arc directly related to our 

1. Truth has a higher value than loyalty. 

2. The individual is more respected than the or- 

3. Human needs have priority over technological 

4. Personal expression is more important than so- 
cial forms* 

5. Openness is replacing secrecy. 

6. No longer can a minority group be relegated to 
second-class citizenship. 

In summary, we are moving toward a society where 
truth, individualism, human needs, personal expres- 
sion, openness, and real opportunity for all will be 
highly valued. 

The Grafton Youth Report, a Madison Avenue pub- 
lication geared to communications, business, and cdu* 
cational executives, talks squarely and sensibly to its 
subscribers. lis 1969 special report A Set of Guide- 
Imes Dealing with Youth offered the following sug- 

Remember that the sexes are integrated. Boys and 
girls today debate as equals, go out campaigning 
together for their favorite candidates, consult 
each other without affectation on their common 
problems. It does not occur to them that females 
should be addressed in any special way, or spared 
any knowledge about life. Much has been said 
about a "sex revolution/' but the most important 
point seems to have been missed; The two sexes 
are friends as they have never been before. Any 
hint in choice of words or tone of voice that you 
are putting the female sex down in some way, as 
not quite the full partners of the male, will date 
you irrevocably and cause loss of confidence in 
what you have to say or sell."' 
The November 1970 issue of that same Grafton re- 
port stated that women's liberation is the only youth 
movement today of any consequence (in both high 
schools and colleges) identifiable in all sections of the 

With this background of widespread public aware- 
ness of both racial and sexual discrimination, with the 
emphasis on attacking the societal prescription of 
roles for all people, and with the real interest being 
shown by youth in this problem (or at least in the 
problem of individualization), the counselor and the 
educator are in unique positions to help release the 
currents of change and to work more efTectively with 
individuals — both boys and girls, whites and blacks — 
in offering individualistic alternatives for each per- 
son's life-style. 

But alternatives for planning or action are only 
viable if they are realistic choices. Our society has not 
yet accepted the moral revolution of which Black- 
burn wrote, nor are all avenues open to all people. 
Nor are all counselors convinced that the wave of the 
near future will really allow the kind of individualism 43 


discussed here. Our own experience, biases, beliefs — 
our own historic sense and perceptions — too often 
show through clearly, if not always brightly. Yet when 
we work with students we work with the future. Our 
lockstcp system of education too often decides the 
fate of a potential scientist by assignment of specific 
courses in the early years of high school. Talent and 
choice may too often be constrained in a counseling 
oHice when engineering is recommended for a bright 
boy, elementary education for a bright girl. And what 
of the kids who don't go to college? Elizabeth Koontz, 
director of the Women's Bureau, tells about the typi- 
cal young woffuifi who acquires some skill in typing. 
She may earn $2.50 an hour in some sections, or she 
may earn SI. 65 an hour in other sections, to sit at her 
desk and type, type, type. But the man who repairs 
her typewriter earns S8.50 an hour. Sometimes, as 
counselors, we unwittingly help turn the keys that 
lock our students into prescribed roles without really 
giving enough thought to what their world may be 
like in 10 or 15 years. 

Since World War II, sex roles for women have 
changed drastically. All good women counselors, and 
happily even some of the men, now know about life 
planning for women. Many of us can, at the drop of a 
hat, rattle oil the latest Women's Bureau figures about 
the number of women in the labor force, the woman's 
age when her last child will be born, the number of 
years she will work correlated with educational attain- 
ment, and so forth. Woman has become the subject. 

However, comparatively little has been written 
about the role of the male. There has been concern 
expressed in the field of education about female domi- 
nance in the training of the young, particularly that 
young boys are not being provided with any meaning- 
ful male figures. Some have protested that our society 
is female dominated, that men in this country grow 
up to be weak and dependent. Unfortunately much of 
the literature about male roles resolves these prob- 
lems by suggesting ways to further emphasize and 
strengthen the *'maleness" stereotype in our society, 
an emphasis that results inevitably in an "cither/or** 

dominatiun of one sex by the other. The iruih is lhat 
children, all children, need meaningful male and fe- 
male role models, role models who arc significant 
human beings in llicir own riglil— neither dominated 
nor domineering. AH writers agree, though, that the 
adult male seeks and finds his identity primarily 
through his work and secondarily through his family. 
For the woman, of course, it is the other way around. 

However, emerging trends may have a direct rcla* 
tionship to changing sex roles, and we should be 
aware of these as well. Population control and the 
ecological balance have become a major source of 
concern. Kingslcy Davis and others have hypothesized 
that, "given the assumption that population growth m 
the U.S. should be stopped by reducing the birth 
rate, efforts should be made to dc-cmphasize the wom- 
en's role upon the importance of having children."^ 
Since most studies have shown that the concept of 
the woman's role includes her having and rearing 
children, and that no matter what career she follows, 
her most important role is still that of becoming a 
mother, a serious movement toward population con- 
trol will necessitate a change in this rather basic and 
culturally prescribed concept.** If anyone thinks thai 
dc-cmphasizing the ccnlrality of a woman's being a 
mother and a wife will be easy. I urge the reading of 
Billy Graham's article in the December 1970 Ladies' 
Home JouniaL The Reverend Mr. Graham, backed by 
appropriate Bible texts, writes thai Eve's biological 
role was to bear children; her romantic role was to 
love her husband; and her vocational role was to be 
second in command. He says: 

I believe the women's liberation movement is an 
echo of our overall philosophy of pcrmissivcncss- 
Everyone young, old, male and female seems bent 
upon abandoning any moral, Biblical and tradi- 
tional guidelines. Many women arc obviously say- 
ing, "Why can't we get in on the act?"® 

Perhaps in the year 1990, when it is estimated that 
women will account for 55 percent of the U.S. popula- 
tion (as opposed to 51 percent now), Mr. Graham will 
be advocating polygamy so that all women can expert- 

cncc the fulfillment of following £vc*s prescribed role 
as ihc bearer of children. 

There are olher changes of which wo should be 
aware: the breakdown in traditional concepts of the 
nuclear family, increasing interest in communal and 
experimental living forms» and the new California 
divorce laws which share responsibility and financial 
arrangements equally between the two marriage part- 
ners and which promise to ser\e as models for other 
states. All these factors will tend to diminish the se- 
curity of marriage for the male as well as for the 
female. Marriage in 1980 or 1985 is very likely to be 
something quite diirerent from the father and mother 
held together by the rearing of the young. As this 
historical family concept continues to change, pre- 
scribed sex roles will become much more individu- 

Counselors need to know both Ihc present reality 
and the direction of the future if they are to help 
young people more easily enter a world filled with 
etcT'increasing change and ambiguity, Alice Rossi 
challenged all counselors when she wrote: 

Hence, it is when men question work, and women 
question family commitment, and both sexes 
question an uncritical commitment to nation- 
state, that we find responses among parents, 
teachers, employers, and government officials 
ranging from a shiver of distaste to a convulsion 
of hate. The strange thing is that one hardly ever 
hears anyone point to precisely these emerging 
qualities among young people as healthy indica- 
tors that solutions to precisely the prob- 
lems all would agree are reaching crisis propor- 
tions in the world at large. Virulent nationalism 
and the consequence of international hostility will 
not be solved by upping nuclear deterrence but by 
the emergence of supra*national loyalties to the 
well being of all men and women on earth. The 
population explosion will not be solved unless 
more men and women remain unmarried, have 
fewer children, or none at all. Environmental 
46 pollution will not be solved unless wc live simply 


anil stop as a nation frum consitnimg more than 
hall the worUls raw materials. The technitrunic 
future at increased leisure time will be meaning* 
less unless men and women value that leisure time 
at least equally as much as their work time.*'* 

Second, we must somehow develop a personal ob- 
jectivity as we liHjk at human needs. Many counselors 
internalize society's prescribed roles and are com- 
fortable with them. Many professional men and worn* 
en simply shrug and say "women's liberation doesn't 
concern me." Many, botli men and women, feel threat- 
ened by a movement— a moral revolution, if you will — 
that may upset their sc*curity. There are others, un- 
fortunately mostly women, who have been badly 
treated in their professional life— they have been 
denied opportunity because of their sex, not becau!vC 
of a lack of talent. They are not promoted or com- 
pensated as well, or as quickly, as their male counter- 
parts. They find themselves increasingly uninvolved 
in significant work. The result of this frustration, as 
we know from the black movement, is often bitterness 
and militancy, or self-acceptance of a meaningless life 
and a concept of one's self as an unperson. 

Third, wc must fight discrimination on all levels 
within our own institutions. All of us can think of 
many examples of such discrimination in our own 
policies and procedures. At Purdue, for example, a 
reduction in our activity fee is given to spouses of 
male students but not to spouses of female students. 
At many institutions the salary paid is greater for 
married faculty with families than it is for the single 
faculty member. Nepotism bans continue in many 
schools. These are just a few of many stupid, inhuman 
practices left over from an earlier time. They must 

Fourth, we must provide good role models of both 
sexes — and all races, married and single for our 
students. A young man should have as much oppor- 
tunity to learn about being a male nurse as a young 
woman has about being a female doctor. We must 
somehow destroy the occupational myths of maleness 
and femalencss. 47 

Again, we may learn from the black movement. Just 
as Little Black Sambo has been attacked because of 
the stereotyping of a black child, so we should attack 
children's books that exclusively show Mary playing 
house and Johnny building a house. Images of appro- 
priate occupations by sex start quite young in a child's 
life and probably have hurt the young boy even more 
than the young girl. Because our culture is still male 
dominated, it is more acceptable for a girl to be a 
"tomboy" than for a boy to be a "sissy." Although it is 
not easy for either, it is probably easier for a woman 
to survive a college engineering course than for a man 
to survive a college home economics course. We can 
do some simple but tangible things here. We can ex- 
amine our institutional literature and make sure pic- 
tures of students or faculty show a fair mixture of the 
sexes in all fields. We can also purge our vocational 
files of other examples of occupational stereotyping. 

Fifth, professional women especially, paving the 
way for other women, must be more aggressive in 
defending and expanding their own status. Women 
must learn to avoid acting in stereotyped kinds 
of ways: women must learn to act, not only to 
react; women must learn to take initiative, to speak 
out, to assume more responsibility as professional 
people. Myths concerning women as weak, defenseless, 
and dependent must be destroyed, and women them- 
selves must be willing to fight this battle. 

Last, we must simply be good human persons our- 
selves. Strangely, when I am shaken out of my ac- 
customed nondirective role and allow myself to show 
frustration, anger, or joy, I reach students a great 
deal more effectively. They care about seeing us as we 
are; we must have enough self-confidence to share our- 
selves with them — not always as a woman, not always 
as a counselor or a dean, but some of the time just as 
a normal person reacting with, and to, them the same 

Ashley Montagu makes my point in a very few 

Every person embodies an adventure of existence, 
and the art of life consists in the guidance of this 
adventure, an adventure in which men and worn- 

en must participate equally. The prime business 
of ;» democracy, the great democratic task of men 
ana women, is not the making of things, not even 
the making of money, but the making of human 
beings. . . .'^ 


1. Purdue University, Breakdown of Faculty by Rank and Sex, 
October 1970. 

2. Owens, Louise H. 'Toward More Meaningful Counseling 
with Women." Paper presented at the American Guidance and 
Personnef Association, March 1970. 

3. Hacker, Helen M. "Women as a Minority Group." Social 
Forces 30: 60-69; 1951. 

4. Blackburn, Robert T. ''Changes in Faculty Life Styles." 
AAHE College and University BuUetin, November 1, 1970. 

5. Grafton Report, Youth Report: A Set of Guidelines for 
Dealing with Youth. New York: Grafton Publications, 1969. 

6. Grafton Report, November 1970. 

7. Davis, Kingsley. "Population Policy: Will Current Programs 
Succeed?" Science, November 1967. p. 158. 

8. Slolka, Susan, and Barnett, Larry D. "Education and Reti- 
glon as Factors in Women's Attitudes Motivating Chlldbearing." 
Journal of Marriage and the Family 31: 740-50; November 1969. 

9. Graham, Billy. "Jesus and the Liberated Woman." Ladies' 
Home Journal, December 1970. pp. 42, 44. 

10. Rossi, Alice S. "Women in the Seventies: Problems and 
Possibilities." Barnard Alumnae, Spring 1970, p. 7. 

11. Montagu, Ashfey. The Natural Superiority of Women. New 
York: Lancer Books, 1953. p. 177. 

8. Alternatives 
to a Sexist 

^ v Kose M. Somemlle 

What brought about a demand for women's studies 
courses in this country in recent years? Several prior 
movements helped to create the demand. 

Certainly the civil rights movement showed young 
people in general — not just ethnic minorities — how 
to press for social change. At the same time, it con- 
vinced young women who were active in the move- 
ment that male leadership was placing them in subor- 
dinate positions and keeping them there. Unable to 
effect changes within male<lominated organizations, 
they became resentful and as a result formed women's 
caucuses at national conventions of civil rights groups 
— a practice that soon spread to professional organi- 

By the late 1960's a wide spectrum of women, mainly 
young, on campuses and off, were meeting in small 
intimate groups and rapping about their personal 
and professional experiences. Some of these rap 
groups moved into social action to make their griev- 
ances known. The mass media sensationalized much 
of what was happening, and "Women's Lib" became a 
household phrase connoting irrational demands rather 
than a painstaking search for answers to injustice. 

College campuses, fortunately, afforded greater op- 
portunity for dialogue that could illuminate the di- 
versity of views among women's liberation adherents. 
50 Female faculty members and graduate ^students began 


zealously examining their status and airing their dis- 
contents. Campus perpetuation of stereotypes high- 
lighted the need for new courses. 

Demands for the introduction of Black and Chicano 
studies set a precedent for moving ahead despite ad- 
ministrative and academic uncertainties and eased the 
path for introduction of women's studies — a curric- 
ulum expansion that will undoubtedly be feJt in high 
schools and elementary schools. 

Textbooks and other children's literature as well 
as radio and TV programs are under examination in 
various states by both voluntary and official com- 
mittees, spurred on by feminist criticisms of the tra- 
ditional definitions of masculinity and femininity that 
permeate both writings and illustrations. (For ex- 
ample, a bill before the California legislature would 
require that texts used in the public elementary and 
secondary schools include "accurate portrayals of 
both men and women in all types of roles, including 
professional, vocational, and executive.") As a result, 
teachers will undoubtedly have more appropriate 
teaching materials and more motivation to offer stu- 
dents a broader conception of male and female roles — 
from kindergartners' show-and-tell to term projects 
in college, from seating arrangements to career 

On many campuses, student initiative brought wom- 
en's studies into existence. Faculty support, pressure 
from women's caucuses of professional organizations, 
and the general demand for relevance all speeded up 
establishment of women's studies. But the strength of 
students' demands and their untiring efforts to con- 
vince hesitant faculties and administrators were the 
outstanding factors. 

Deciding which courses now being offered are 
^'women's studies" is not always easy. Courses in the 
past rarely focused exclusively on women, but many 
extensively considered the roles of women both here 
and abroad. Sociology of the Family, widely offered 
in American colleges in the past two decades, is one 
example. It might be sc^id that women's studies iti 
various colleges both built on past curriculum offer- 
ings and stimulated greater focus on women in many 51 

courses not formally designated as part of a women's 
studies program. 

By the fall of 1970. San Diego State had set up 
within the College of Arts and Letters a formal Wom- 
en's Studies Program. In addition, various depart- 
ments continue to offer traditional courses in which 
women's images, needs, and activities have constituted 
an important aspect of study, such as Human Sexual- 
ity, Family Interaction, Contemporary British Litera- 
ture, and World Drama. Further courses have been 
redesigned to emphasize the role, status, and poten- 
tial of women. 

When colleges try to set up formal programs of 
women's studies, they often face problems of funding 
and administration. These include the creation of new 
faculty positions, the lack of tenure in some instances 
on the part of those most interested in heading up a 
new department, institute, or center, and the relation- 
ship of the new administrative unit to the previous 
system of majors, credits, and credentialing. As a 
result, even where an institution ofTers a large number 
of new courses, as at Cornell University, they may be 
scattered in many departments. What united these 
dispersed courses at Cornell in 1970-71 (Evolution of 
the Female Personality: History and Prospects; 
Women in Education; the Representation of Women 
in Literature; Women and Society; the Sociology of 
the Female Labor Force) was the spirit of Cornell's 
Female Studies Steering Committee rather than its 
formal status in the University. 

In contrast, the program of women's studies at San 
Diego State had two-and-a-half faculty positions allo- 
cated to it in its first year, 1970-71, enabling it to 
offer 10 courses each semester: Socialization Process 
of Women, Self-Actualization of Women, Contem- 
porary Issues in Women's Liberation (two sections). 
Women in History, Women in Literature (Part I on 
women characters and Part II on women writers). 
Human Sexuality, Status of Women in Various Eco- 
nomic Systems, and Women and Education. The same 
allocation for 1971-72 permits 10 courses to be offered 
52 again, with some changes in titling and content. 

Most colleges and universities that do have women's 

studies oiler a single course, or at most two, rather 
than a whole program. The list of courses on women 
for 1970-71 compiled by the Commission on the Status 
of Women of the Modern Language Association makes 
this point evident. Several departments offer the 66 
courses included on the list, although English depart- 
ments predominate. While the reading materials over- 
lap to some extent, the variety of course design is 
most notable. 

Some of the course outlines manage to convey the 
teacher's own sense of adventure in designing the new 
course. The same is true of some course titles: Woman 
as Hero, Daughters and Ducats, Sex and Politics, 
Feminine Personality, Linguistic Behavior of Male 
and Female. 

Expansion of curriculum to aliuw a special focus 
on women's roles has brought with it a number of 
questions. One of these is whether or not men should 
be involved in women's studies. Some of the women 
who teach the courses and a number of the women 
students admit to feelings of frustration in having 
coeducational classes. 

On the San Diego State College campus, these com- 
ments were heard: "You have to start so far back 
with the men. They are at points A and B while some 
of us who have been meeting in rap groups are much 
farther along in our reading and thinking. . . . Our 
education is intended to lead to action. Few men 
could be counted on to serve as activists for women's 
rights. . . . Some of the men enroll for amusement, to 
scoff, rather than for serious educational purposes." 

There seems to be a positive correlation between a 
program's commitment to action and a desire on the 
part of its female participants to exclude males. How- 
ever, even within the radical wing we find many 
divergent attitudes, ranging from a willingness to 
work closely with men to a view of man as the enemy 
from whom power must be wrested. 

Another unresolved issue in women's studies is 
whether the courses should be taught from a feminist 
point of view, and, if so, can men teach them? The 53 



definition of a feminist point of view may be difficult 
to arrive at, but it probably would include these 
assumptions: (a) Society tends to curtail women's 
opportunilies for growth beyond the limits set by 
biology, (b) Stereotypes and myths about woman 
hinder her advancement, (c) Male-dominated histori- 
ography, social research, and literary criticism con- 
tinue markedly to resist recognizing female contribu- 
tions and talents as does academia in general (d) 
Women have internalized negative appraisals of their 
sex, and this internalization leaves many with a poor 
self-image and a reservoir of rage, as well as lowered 

Feminists are likely to believe that the male cannot 
be as sensitive and perceptive as the female in 
examining the social forces and the literary and his- 
torical reflections of these forces that, through the 
centuries, have put women down. 

Some women's studies courses proceed on this 
assumption and reveal the viewpoint in such titles as 
Exploring the New Feminism: A Feminist Analysis of 
Our Culture, Others set as their goals "to see to what 
extent women's criticisms are justified and to con- 
sider whether the presence of such chauvinism (if it 
does exist) does or should affect our final evaluation 
of the [literary] work." Still others seek to find out 
"how would one go about proving or disproving these 
assumptions concerning women," 

Some women's studies programs, such as the one 
at San Diego State, seek only teachers who have both 
academic credentials and involvement in women's 
causes off campus. Others stress academic qualifica- 
tions only. 

Although women now teach most women's studies 
courses in coeducational institutions, it seems that 
men teach the majority of such courses offered at 
several women's colleges. What actually happens 
when men rather than women teach? Does this ham- 
per the consciousness raising that is a side effect of 
women's studies? A feminist might look at the outline 
of a course taught by a male, note his characterization 
of Mary Wollstonecraft's famous essay as ''the first 
54 significant outburst by an Englishwoman," and de- 


mand to know whether he would dub John Stuart 
Mill's essay an outburst. 

What Is the future of women's studies courses and 
programs? Certainly, initial misgivings about them 
have diminished greatly. New research has been 
generated, and in the 1970's wc can expect to sec 
master's and doctoral dissertations that "search for 
the lost sex" in historical documents, government 
statistics, anthropological studies, works of art, and 
theoretical assumptions. These will enrich the course 
materials available. 

Publishers have been hastening to meet the demand 
of women's studies courses with reissues of classics 
and numerous anthologies bringing together con- 
veniently the articles on women that have appeared 
in women's liberation as well as professional journals. 
Hundreds of extension programs throughout the 
United States are now showing an interest in women's 
roles. Universities (through continuing education for 
women and agricultural extension programs) and 
state and local family^rclations organizations have 
encouraged workshops, daylong institutes, exhibits, 
and related activities that focus on women's changing 

These developments arc likely to encourage more 
colleges to offer women's studies. As yet no college 
has instituted a major in this field. Even the most 
developed program (in size if not in innovative course 
design and teaching techniques), that at San Diego 
State College, ofTers its 10 courses as electives that 
satisfy requirements in a number of fields. Moreover, 
there are still problems of articulation among courses, 
and sequence is largely a matter of chance. 

Graduate courses are yet to come, although a break- 
through is evident in the one-year, action-oriented M.A. 
program in radical feminist studies at the Cambridge- 
Goddard Graduate School of Social Change (a branch 
of Vermont's Goddard College, located in Cambridge, 
Massachusetts). Seminars this year will include fem- 
inist history, cross-cultural studies of women, social- 
ization to sex roles, women and the media, women and 55 


the law, feminist psychology. Additional topics will be 
added as demanded. 

Almost certainly, from now on, U.S. campuses will 
have to abandon their original tendencies to offer 
relatively little on women's roles. We can hardly 
expect, however, any easy resolution of the issues 
still in question. 

9. Changing 
the School 

By Dorin M. Schumac her 

len my then nine*year-old daughter announced 

two years ago that she wanted to raise horses 

when she grew up and would marry a rich 
man to finance the project* I realized that all those 
stories she had been reading about a girl and her 
horse were getting to her. She was modelling herself 
and her future on fictional and cultural projections of 
a woman's role, and the fact that I was a career- 
oriented Ph.D. candidate was not sufficient by itself 
to overcome the seduction of those images. I would 
have to do something to change her total environment, 
and it would have to be done before the crucial years 
of adolescence when parental influence declines and 
peer group influence increases. In order to avoid the 
psychological damage which would result from my 
making a decision about her future and attempting to 
impose it upon her, I decided to try to effect a substi- 
tution of more constructive images of women for the 
old images she was following. 

The first step was helping her to see the fictional 
and relative nature of those images. So I began to 
watch television with her, discussing with her the 
onc'sided picture of women it presents. We talked 
about the women we knew who were doing other 
things in life. I pointed out to her how different she 
was from some of the silly little girls wc saw in situ- 
ation comedies. I was helping her to develop a critical 

sense and to see the gap between Action and her own 
potential. I could have prevented her from watching 
television in order to protect her from those stereo- 
types, but I would also have had to keep her home 
from school and keep her from reading her books to 
protect her from them. We also began to examine her 
home and school reading material and to discuss the 
images of women presented in her books. 

She began to complain about the sports program 
in her school and about the fact that there were organ- 
ized activities for the boys but nothing for the girls. 
All the girls could do was to hang around the swings 
because the playing field was taken over by the boys' 
games. It became obvious that we had somehow to 
change the school environment too, and that this was 
going to be a much more difTicult task. It would have 
been even more difficult, however, had the school in 
question been a public school. In our favor was the 
fact that the school in question is a university-related 
]aborator>*>demonstration school which prides itself 
on its "dedication to individual growth and develop- 

It is a small, attractive school which communicates 
a cheerful and friendly atmosphere. The children look 
happy and busy. It has about 250 students in kinder* 
garten through ninth grades, most of whom come 
from white, middle class, highly educated academic 
or professional families. Because it is associated with 
a university School of Education, it is heavily involved 
in the process of teacher education and influences a 
great many potential teachers and their future stu* 
dents. Many of its mostly male faculty teach in the 
School of Education and many of them are working 
for graduate degrees there. Students from the School's 
degree programs do student teaching at the school and 
hundreds come each year to obser\e classes in prog- 
ress. The teachers write their own curricula, which 
they constantly revise. 

Imagine my shock then when my first approaches 
to the school met with male supremacist responses. 
I asked for a discussion group on the school's role in 
58 motivating the girl students to be added to a PTA 


small discussion group meeting. The assistant prin* 
cipal was nut interested and said so, "After all/' he 
said, "this school already stands for individual devel- 
opment. There is no prejudice here. Besides, most 
parents would not want their daughters to have ca* 
reers/* He referred me to the PTA president, a recently 
divorced. Frcudiann^ricnted professor of social work. 
It was predictable that he would take me for drinks to 
a dimly lit bar and say that he did not think the school 
should play a rule in creating castrating females and 
(hat I should be careful about projecting my own 
neuroses onto my daughter 

When the discussion group finally came off, it was 
like the theatre of the absurd. It was directed by a 
woman psychologist who stated that the research 
showed that women had less native intelligence than 
men; one of the most active participants was a civil 
liberties lawyer who got into the group by mistake but 
who stayed to argue for the preservation of cultural 
ditferences: f tnlinns make better spaghetti. Blacks can 
run faster than Whites, and women arc happy staying 
home and nurturing. The principal came in long 
enough to state, "There is no point in educating wom- 
en; they all have the nesting instinct." 

But my husband and I tried to stick to what little 
real evidence we had. He brought my daughter's 
school readers to the group and did an analysis of the 
scxToIe stereotypes contained therein. One of them 
was titled Deeds of Men, and the other contained al- 
most no stories about girls except for one in which an 
active girl was referred to as a tomboy. We also re- 
ported on the sports program and were able to say 
that we had personally observed the fact that no activ- 
ities were provided for the girls and that we had made 
complaints to no avail. I cannot emphasize strongly 
enough how important it is to bring in solid evidence 
in situations like this, because the discussions can get 
bogged down in debates about the reliability of chil- 
dren's accounts and the question of parents' rights to 
make value judgments about what is good for their 

The discussion was most productive, however, be- 
cause it put us in contact with several parents who 59 


were already ver\' concerned about ihe general ques- 
tion of their daughters' fuil development, but who 
were not aware of the negative information which we 
presented. We did not have a great deal of evidence, 
but what we had was reliable and impressive: it 
showed the other parents that changes should be 
made. After the discussion, the FTA president kept 
saying what a shame it was we had had such small 
participation and so little interest shown in the 

VVc then brought up the subject at a seventh grade 
"Mothers' Meeting" (this was my son's class), and it 
threw the meeting into chaos. (Usually they are a 
bore.) Half the mothers turned on me and verbally 
attacked me and my ideas but listened to my husband 
when he made the same points. Husbands can be cx* 
cellent allies in these situations, especially if you can 
gel them to attend "Mothers' Meetings." The other 
half ol the mothers were nodding vigorous assent. The 
teacher checked out his classroom library and found 
out that it was true that the adventure and discovery 
stones were nhniit boys and the love stories were 
about girls. But he told me that if I wanted them to be 
ditTerent I would have to write Uiciu myself. Some of 
the other mothers began to question the science/math 
teacher to fmd out if he was giving girls as much en- 
couragement as he was giving boys. Naturally he said 
yes. But more support among the parents had been 

Wc were still handicapped by a lack of aeecsi to 

Ihe classroom to gather more and better evidence for 
the need for change. Wc needed to make more parents 
aware of the school's real expectations of its girl stu- 
dents to counteract its appealing propaganda about 
individual development and freedom. Our only hope 
at the time was to educate parents so they would brine 
pressure to bear on the school. And wc were very 
handicapped by the unavailability of good resource 
material to recommend to the school. So what fol- 
lowed that year was largely reactive on our part. 
The principal of the school sent out an announce* 
60 ment of a PTA event he had dreamed up, which con- 



sisicd of having the "ladies" bring dcs?»cri5 wrapped in 
gaily decorated boxes lo be auctioned off to the high- 
est male bidder, who could then* we were told, buy 
hinneU a harem. 1 began lo fantasize filling a box with 
chicken bones or obscene messages, or staging a guer- 
rilla theatre «nctton of parents parading around 
dressed in aprons, banging loudly on pots and pans 
with wooden spoons. Not surprisingly, no one was 
interested in fulfilling my fantasies so the demonstra- 
tion never got off the ground, but the children were 
talking about it in school and it got back to the prin- 
cipal as an ominous and imminent occurrence. 

He was sufficiently worried to invite me in to div 
cuss my concerns. After a couple of hours of discus* 
sion during which he complained about a lack of pro- 
fessionalism among female public school teachers and 
blamed the problems of pudlic education on women* 
and t spoke about the need to develop career motiva- 
tion at an earlier age, he invited mc to address the 
faculty and present my ideas to thcni. But I didn't 
want the school to get ofT that easily. I wanted to have 
a concrete program to present that would last beyond 
the two or three years ttiat these teachers might teach 
at the school. T desperately needed resource materials 
to recommend and did not iiave the time to search for 

The next thing that happened was that some ot the 

teachers — the males^in the name of the "Faculty" 
challenged the fathers to play a basketball ^ame to 
raise money for the school. I decided to do an action 
on my own to draw attention to tliu uUitudes of the 
school administration and faculty, particularly as they 
were manifested in the sports program. I signed my- 
self up for the father-teacher basketball game. When 
my team show^ed up for the practice meeting, I dis- 
covered that two of the fathers were professional foot- 
ball players and several of the others had played var- 
sity basketball in college. I played junior varsity bas- 
ketball one year in high school: girls' rules of course^ 
I did manage to make a basket during (he practice ses* 
sion and no one was more surprised than I. The week 
of the big game I underwent a scries of personal trials 61 


which included Ph.D orals and receiving the news that 
my husband had lost his job probably for academic 
nonconformity, but was having a site visit from a 
federal granting agency for a big grant request to fund 
his new research; and I got what felt like the flu. 

But I played in the big game anyway, wiped out as 
I was. And my daughter was terrific. She came out 
and encouraged me saying, "Just try. Mommy; you 
don't have to get a basket, just try." Several of the 
mothers and girl students came up and said, "We 
know what you're trying to do and we think it's great. 
You've got a lot of guts." And I was wondering what 
the hell I was doing out there making a fool of myself 
and dealing with side issues. I never did learn men's 
basketball rules and I ran around the court feeling as 
though I was in a Kafka-esque world of confused and 
jumbled visual impression where everyone under- 
stood what to do but me. The next day at school my 
daughter played baseball with the boys for the first 

At first they would not let her up to bat but when 
she insisted, she got up to bat and made a hit. And 
she has been getting better ever since. Last week she 
caught a pop-fly and put out my departmental chair- 
man's son. And I never suggested directly that she 
should play organized sports. I showed her most of 
all that I was not afraid to go out and try something in 
an all-male environment that I was not sure I could 
succeed at — something I had never before allowed my- 
self to do. It gave her the courage to try something 
she wanted very much to do but had been afraid to try. 
And she saw that just because something is labeled 
"For Men Only" it does not mean that women have to 
accept that definition and restriction. 

Then the year was over. AVe still had not been able 
to get to the central place of organized instruction — 
the classroom and the classroom materials. But this 
year, I was invited by a new Black parent of a beau- 
tiful girl child to be the discussion group leader at a 
PTA meeting on the topic of the school's role in pre- 
paring. girls for roles in society. And when she invited 
me to do it, she said to me, "You know, sexism is just 

like racism; it's all around us and it's there in very 
subtle ways." 

Our discussion group identified problem areas in 
the school environment and made recommendations 
for positive change: how it could be brought about 
and lists of resource materials to facilitate it. Re- 
source materials were becoming available and we 
followed the models available in new courses for 
women in higher education. These recommendations 
started circulating and seemed to engender the respect 
that words on paper and bibliographies get in an aca- 
demic environment. We presented them to the princi- 
pal and the new PTA president. I let it be known in 
the course of the discussion that the university to 
which the school was related was under investigation 
by HEW for discrimination against women and that I 
considered the school to fall within the purview of 
that investigation. I also mentioned that I had been 
appointed to the council which was appointed to ad- 
vise the Chancellor of the University on these matters. 
This gave us the muscle we had been looking for. 

We presented the following recommendations: 

I. Sports Program: 

That a sports program for girls be instituted. 
That an integrated — that is, for boys and girls 

playing together — sports program be instituted 


That a special effort be made to teach individual 
competencies which may be used throughout 
an individual's active life. 

That, if necessary to accomplish the above, a fe- 
male sports teacher be hired. This teacher 
would not be hired to direct a sports program 
for girls but as an equal to team teach both 
boys and girls. Hopefully, this would be a per- 
son who could provide such activities as crea- 
tive dance for boys as well as girls. 

II. Professional Women Speakers: 

That a school policy be adopted of having profes- 
sional women speak to the students about their 
work. There are many mothers of students in 
the school who are actively pursuing careers. 
Women doctors, lawyers, scientists, politicians. 

even ministers would provide needed role mod- 
els for girl students as well as provide an im- 
portant picture of professional women to boy 

III. Books: 

That a committee be formed to seek out and ex- 
amine books vvhich provide constructive role 
models for girls and do not provide stereotypes 
of males or females. This committee will de- 
velop a bibliography of such books and will 
make recommendations for purchase for class- 
room libraries and for the school library. It 
will also send book lists to parents and request 
the purchase of recommended books for the 
school libraries. It will also make a study of 
books presently available in the school to 
identify those which present a particularly neg- 
ative self-image to boy or girl students. 

IV. History and Social Studies: 

That an effort be begun to include women's 
achievements and contributions to history and 
culture in the history and social studies cur- 

V. Teaching of literature and talking about stories: 
That in discussion in the classrooms concerning 

stories and books which do present a one- 
sided picture of women and men (i.e., male 
characters actively doing, exploring, inventing, 
playing a variety of roles; female characters 
engaged in domestic tasks, human relation- 
ships, emotional expression), the teachers dis- 
cuss the one-sidedness of these pictures and 
help the students to explore other possibilities 
for individuals (intellectual achievement for 
women, emotional expressivity and involve- 
ment in human relationships for men). 

VI. Music and the Arts: 

While it is recognized that our cultural sex roles 
do not encourage aesthetic expression and ap- 
preciation in males, an effort must be made to 
continue to encourage girls in these activities. 
Open discussion about individual male and fe- 
64 male contributions to the arts would enable 


students to feel comfortable with individual in- 
terests and capabilities which differ from 
predominant cultural expectations. Subtler 
kinds of encouragement of boys may be inter- 
preted by the girls as discouragement. The 
committee recognizes the complexity of the 
situation and recommends open discussion 
whenever possible. 
VII. Student Government: 

It is hoped by the committee that some ways 
may be explored to facilitate and encourage 
the active participation by girls in leadership 
positions. The committee recommends discus- 
sions before nominations, elections, etc., of 
leadership qualities which can be developed 
and learned by males and females alike; ex- 
amples of women leaders provided; discus- 
sions of cultural expectations and how they can 
influence individuals' expectations of them- 

The day after our committee meeting which drew 
up the recommendations, the sports teacher an- 
nounced the inclusion of girls on intramural sports 
teams. The principal wrote to me stating a commit- 
ment to the education of female students and his in- 
tention of purchasing the recommended resource ma- 
terials and circulating them among the teachers. The 
Program Director on the Board stated his intention of 
doing a PTA program on the subject of the education 
of women. We will be watching closely to ensure that 
as future teachers come to observe the school classes 
they will hear teachers and students discussing the 
accomplishments of women in history, in the profes- 
sions, in life, and in self-fulfillmpnt. 

Next September, my daughter will be in seventh 
grade. Two years ago the sports teacher told me that 
girls get passive and unmotivated in junior high and 
there is "nothing you can do about it." But now there 
is hope for her and for all of us.