In what may be a betrayal of much contemporary philosophising about boys and girls, I’ve just a read an article in The Age arguing the case for single sex schools, “particularly for girls”.
Loren Bridge (Executive Officer of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia), contends that while,
“Positives can be found in every type of education, but there are just so many more positives for girls in a single-sex school.”
This educator suggests that both research and experience demonstrate that girls perform better academically and adapt better socially in a single sex environment,
“There is simply no doubt that single-sex education benefits girls. Research shows unequivocally that girls thrive in an all-girls environment – they do better academically, socially and emotionally. Not just a single study but a plethora of data from across the world supports these findings.
Research aside, you only need to visit a girls’ school to see the difference. Girls in co-ed schools tend to be more self-conscious and less confident. They are less likely to speak up in class, ask questions or take on a leadership role. They are also more likely to have a negative body image and to experience sexual harassment or bullying. In contrast, those in girls-only environments feel empowered to be themselves. They participate more freely in discussions, are more competitive and take more healthy risks with their learning – skills that are advantageous for life success.”
But hang on, I thought there were no differences between boys and girls? Until recently it was permissible to acknowledge biological differences between girls and boys, but no longer. Talk about biological distinctions is now considered social blasphemy and a quick route to public cancelling (see here for an example). Why? The woke brigade preach’s that biology has no bearing on what defines a boy and girl, because boys can fall pregnant and girls can have a penis.
What is interesting about the article is that Loren Bridge isn’t discussing physical differences; she goes much further. She suggests that there are psychological and social differences between the sexes, such that it warrants single sex classes in schools. Whether conscious or not of the fact, she has crossed the line and entered that chilling space known as woke heterodoxy.
I happen to agree with her. As a Dad with two boys and a girl, it’s one of those self evident truths; boys and girls are not the same. Gender makes a difference not only with appearance and physical attributes, but it also impacts how we think, react, and relate. This is not something to be ashamed of or to be denied or ignored, but is part of who we are. In making male and female, God didn’t make a mistake.
To be sure, cultural conditioning influences the way boys and girls view themselves. But this cannot fully explain the why’s and how’s and what of boys and girls. As Bridge has noted, it is the case that some approaches to education work better simply because boys and girls are not the same.
As a parent with a daughter I found Bridge’s article interesting and persuasive, but I’m also conscious that her opinion contradicts the Victorian Education Department’s own understanding of sex and gender (as evidenced by the Safe Schools and Respectful Relationships Curriculums). At the end of the day, reality either catches up or catches us out. No matter how much we suppress and explain away the realities of boys and girls, what is true eventually insists upon being recognised, and it’s encouraging to find educators acknowledging this.