Why Only Girls?
Over the last 20 years, research has shown that girls think, interact, display leadership, and make decisions differently from boys. Studies point to educational disparities between the sexes, and found that, in mixed schools, girls routinely are called upon less, receive less feedback, and display lower self-esteem than boys.
Girls’ self-esteem and confidence in their competence, particularly with regard to math and science, drop precipitously during their middle school years, narrowing their later choices of course work and career path.”(1)
Research published by The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools shows that in co-educational classrooms, girls often contend with:
Fewer opportunities to participate
Pressure to conform to stereotypes
Lowered teacher expectations
Limited encouragement in math & science
Unequal sports opportunities
Insufficient female role models
In contrast, at a girls’ school, girls find not only equal opportunity, but every opportunity. Girls experience the freedom to speak out, ask questions, debate issues, and defend points of view. Girls fill every role at an all-girl school; they are the speakers, thinkers, writers, singers, artists, scientists, athletes, actors, and leaders.
Research has also demonstrated that girls at single-sex schools are more likely to take non-traditional courses in subjects that run against gender stereotypes, such as advanced math and physics. With fewer gender distractions, girls learn to be more competitive, accept leadership roles, and spend more time on schoolwork and personal interests.
Single-sex education is not merely a matter of separating girls and boys. It’s about making sure girls take center stage. The combination of classroom, community, and culture makes an all-girl education a powerful and transformative experience.
We know that girls at single sex schools flourish academically. In general, graduates of girls’ schools are more motivated, more accomplished, and have higher aspirations than their peers at coeducational schools. Girls at single-gender schools plan careers in math, science, and technology four times more often than their peers from other schools. They will typically score 30% higher on SAT tests than the girls’ national average. In addition, almost 100 percent of girls’ school graduates go on to college and are twice as likely to earn doctorates. (2)
How Schools Shortchange Girls, AAUW, 1995.
We gratefully acknowledge the research and statistics published by The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools on which we relied in producing this information.
Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools: Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College.