UNIT: Gender and Education
Issue: Do Boys and Girls Learn Differently?
YES: Madhura Ingalhalikar, et al., from "Sex Differences in the Structural Connectome of the Human Brain," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2013
NO: Sara Mead, from "The Problem with Gender-Based Education," The Early Childhood Watch Blog, 2008
Dr. Madhura Ingalhalikar and colleagues found in their research that adolescent male and female brains are different, with male brains connecting perception and coordinated action more effectively than female brains, female brains connecting analytical and intuitive processing more effectively than male brains. Sara Mead works to debunk the work of Michael Gurian and Leonard Sax, both of whom are strong proponents of gender-based interventions and learning strategies, emphasizing that they are not neuroscientists themselves.
Issue: Are Single-Gender Classes Necessary to Create Equal Opportunities for Boys and Girls?
YES: Frances R. Spielhagen, from "How Tweens View Single-Sex Classes," Educational Leadership, 2006
NO: Kelley King and Michael Gurian, from "Teaching to the Minds of Boys," Educational Leadership, 2006
Frances R. Spielhagen, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary, argues that single-gender classes are viewed as more conducive to learning than are coeducational classes by students, especially younger students. Kelley King and Michael Gurian argue that coeducational classrooms can be made to be more accommodating to the learning profiles of both boys and girls, and they illustrate this approach through the example of classrooms that became more “boy friendly” through the inclusion of experiential and kinesthetic activities around literacy.
Issue: Is Gender Related to the Use of Computers?
YES: Tim Olds, et al., from "How Do School-Day Activity Patterns Differ with Age and Gender Across Adolescence?" Journal of Adolescent Health, 2009
NO: Susan McKenney and Joke Voogt, from "Technology and Young Children: How 4-7 Year Olds Perceive Their Own Use of Computers," Computers in Human Behavior, 2010
Tim Olds and his colleagues examined how much time adolescents spent in different activities during the school day and found that boys had higher levels of screen time, which included television, video games, and computer use, which peaked in the peripubertal years. Susan McKenney and Joke Voogt studied children’s use of technology both within and outside school settings and found no gender differences in young children’s perceptions of their own use of computers or in ability level.
UNIT: He Said, She Said, They Said
Issue: Does a Wage Gap Exist Between Women and Men?
YES: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration and the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, from "Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being," White House Release, 2011
NO: Andrew Syrios, from "Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: The Wage Gap," Swift Economics, 2009
Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce demonstrates that while what women earn as compared to what men earn has grown over time the gap in earning between men and women remains. Real estate investor and blogger Andrew Syrios presents four reasons why a wage gap based on gender does not exist, explaining that a comparison of people of different genders doing the same work is an inappropriate comparison when it comes to the business of work.
Issue: Should the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) Be Passed?
YES: Jaime M. Grant, et al., from "Injustice at Every Turn A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey," The Task Force, 2011
NO: Family Research Council, from "The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): A Threat To Free Markets And Freedom Of Conscience And Religion," Family Research Council, 2011
Jaime Grant, director of the Global Transgender Research and Advocacy Project of the Arcus Foundation, and her colleagues promote the need for ENDA based on data showing transgender and gender non-conforming people face discrimination and violence in the workplace. The Family Research Council asserts that transgender people are not a protected population under federal Civil Rights legislation, and that ENDA would therefore contradict the provisions of that law.
Issue: Has the Economic Recession Been Harder on Women's Employment Than Men's Employment?
YES: Government Equalities Office, from "The Economic Downturn--The Concerns and Experiences of Women and Families," Impact of the Economic Downturn on Women, 2009
NO: Teri Fritsma, from "Minnesota's He-cession: Are Men Bearing the Brunt of the Economic Downturn?" Minnesota Economic Trends, 2009
The Government Equalities Office presents data suggesting that women are experiencing more challenges than men due to the economic recession. Teri Fritsma, in an analysis of data based on employment patterns in Minnesota, suggests that men are being more negatively affected by the recession than are women.
UNIT: Parental Presence, Parental Choices
Issue: Are Fathers Necessary for Children's Well-Being?
YES: William Scott and Amy De La Hunt, from "The Important Role of Fathers in the Lives of Young Children," Parents As Teachers, 2011
NO: Jane Waldfogel, Terry-Ann Craigie, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, from "Fragile Families and Child Well-Being," The Future of Children Journal, 2010
William Scott and Amy De La Hunt highlight research demonstrating the impact, positive and negative, that having or not having a father in a child’s life, particularly around that child’s emotional and cognitive development. Jane Waldfogel, Terry-Ann Craigie, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, in a detailed analysis of various family structures, find that family instability has a negative effect on children's cognitive and health outcomes, regardless of structure, meaning that children with single or cohabiting parents are not necessarily at risk.
Issue: Should Parents Be Allowed to Choose the Sex to Their Children?
YES: Z. O. Merhi and L. Pal, from "Gender 'Tailored' Conceptions: Should the Option of Embryo Gender Selection Be Available to Infertile Couples Undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technology?" Journal of Medical Ethics, 2008
NO: Jasmeet Sidhu, from "How to Buy a Daughter: Choosing the Sex of Your Baby Has Become a Multimillion-Dollar Industry," Slate, 2012
Physicians Z. O. Merhi and L. Pal discuss the conditions under which selection of the sex of a child does not breach any ethical considerations in family planning among infertile couples. Writer/filmmaker Jasmeet Sidhu believes that the process of sex selection is problematic due to its lack of regulation and potential to earn significant profits for companies providing this service.
Issue: Should Men Have a Say in Whether Their Partner Has an Abortion?
YES: Catherine T. Coyle, from "An Online Pilot Study to Investigate the Effects of Abortion on Men," Men and Abortion, 2006
NO: Crystal M. Hayes, from "My Abortion Story, and My Right to Choose," The Grio, 2013
Catherine T. Coyle, author of author of the book, Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing, discusses research relating to the impact a woman’s abortion has on her male partner to justify his right to be involved in the decision whether to have or abort a pregnancy. Crystal Hayes’ first-person description of her experience with choosing to have an abortion focuses on a woman’s right to choose.
Issue: Are Children Who Are Raised by A Lesbian or Gay Couple Worse Off Than Those Raised by Different-Sex Parents?
YES: Glenn T. Stanton, from "Key Findings of Mark Regnerus' New Family Structure Study," Focus on the Family, 2012
NO: Jeanna Bryner, from "Children Raised by Lesbians Do Just Fine, Studies Show," Livescience, 2010
Glenn T. Stanton from Conservative organization Focus on the Family summarizes some of the data from the New Family Structure Study as indicators that children in same-sex headed households are negatively affected by having lesbian or gay parents, and that those impacts extend into adulthood. Jeanna Bryner describes several studies demonstrating that children born to lesbian parents did just as well developmentally as children born to heterosexual parents. This well-being referred to academic performance, friendships and overall sense of well-being.
Unit: Gender and the World Around Us
Issue: Can Women Have It All?
YES: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, from "Sheryl Sandberg's Radically Realistic ‘And’ Solution for Working Mothers," The Atlantic, 2013
NO: Anne-Marie Slaughter, from "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," The Atlantic, 2012
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, best-selling author, journalist, and a Senior Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy program, discusses the issues in Sheryl Sandberg’s famous book, Lean In. Sandberg’s advice to career women is not to opt out but to lean in, that is, to firmly choose both career and parenting. Unfortunately men still run the country so the societal changes that could facilitate Lean In are missing. Full commitment to both career and family will not be easy. Anne-Marie Slaughter, the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and formerly dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, explains why Sandberg is wrong and women cannot successfully pursue career and family at the same time. They must decide which to do well and which to do adequately but not avidly.
Issue: Is There Still a Double Standard of Sexuality for Women and Girls?
YES: Michael J. Marks and R. Chris Fraley, from "The Sexual Double Standard: Fact of Fiction?" Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 2005
NO: Gail Collins, from "The Decline of the Double Standard," When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, 2009
Michael J. Marks and R. Chris Fraley, in “The Sexual Double Standard: Fact or Fiction?,” address contemporary cultural beliefs about the sexual double standard. Gail Collins, in the chapter titled “The Decline of the Double Standard” from her 2009 book When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, discusses how cultural beliefs regarding expectations for women’s sexual behaviors have evolved since the 1960s.
Issue: Does Anatomy Predict Gender?
YES: Cornelieke van de Beek, et al., from "Prenatal Sex Hormones (Maternal and Amniotic Fluid) and Gender-Related Play Behavior in 13-Month-Old Infant," Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2009
NO: Vasanti Jadva, Melissa Hines, and Susan Golombok, from "Infants’ Preferences for Toys, Colors, and Shapes: Sex Differences and Similarities," Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2010
Cornelieke van de Beek and colleagues demonstrated that testosterone, estradiol, and progesterone levels measured during pregnancy are related to gender-related play in 13-month-old girls and boys and found clear sex differences in preferences for masculine and feminine toys. Vasanti Jadva, Melissa Hines, and Susan Golombok, using a preferential looking task, found sex similarities in infants’ preferences for shapes and colors and suggest that later gender-related patterns of toy preferences may be related to socialization or cognitive development factors rather than inborn differences.
Issue: Are Barriers to Women's Success as Leaders Due to Societal Obstacles?
YES: Alice H. Eagly and Linda L. Carli, from "Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership," Harvard Business Review, 2007
NO: Mark van Vugt and Anjana Ahuja, from "Naturally Selected: The Evolutionary Science of Leadership," Naturally Selected: The Evolutionary Science of Leadership, 2011
Alice Eagly and Linda Carli contend that barriers exist for women at every stage of their career trajectories, resulting in, not a glass ceiling, but a labyrinth. Mark van Vugt and Anjana Ahuja assert that the division of labor by sex is rooted in biologically based differences between women and men. Evolutionarily based natural selection has led to inclinations that make women and men better suited for different types of jobs.
Issue: Does Pornography Reduce the Incidence of Rape?
YES: Anthony D'Amato, from "Porn Up, Rape Down," Northwestern University School of Law, Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series, 2012
NO: Darwin, from "Does Porn Prevent Rape?" Catholic Exchange, 2012
Professor of law Anthony D’Amato highlights statistics from the most recent National Crime Victimization Survey that demonstrate a correlation between the increased consumption of pornography over the years with the decreased incidence of rape. Some people, he argues, watch pornography in order to push any desire to rape out of their minds, and thus have no further desire to go out and actually do it. Blogger Darwin argues that the while sexual crimes have gone down over the years, the consumption of sexually explicit material cannot be given and that trying to associate pornography with a decrease in the incidence of rape is an attempt to justify consuming its existence and use.
Issue: Are Women More at Risk for Crimes Using Digital Technology?
YES: Danielle Keats Citron, from "Law's Expressive Value in Combating Cyber Gender Harassment," Michigan Law Review, 2009
NO: Rebecca Eckler, from "Finding Out What Men Are Up To: Some Women Pride Themselves on Their Cyber-Sleuth Skills," Maclean's, 2009
Professor of law at University of Maryland Law School, Danielle Keats Citron argues that women face higher rates of gender-based cyber harassment and it creates a gender divide online where women are disenfranchised from full participation. Rebecca Eckler asserts that women are equal opportunity offenders in the realm of digital crime and that women have used online tactics to harass men in increasingly greater numbers.
Issue: Can a Woman with Conservative Political Views Be a Feminist?
YES: Christina Hoff Sommers, from "Feminism and Freedom," The American Spectator, 2008
NO: Jessica Valenti, from "Who Stole Feminism?" The Nation, 2010
Christina Hoff Sommers, in “Feminism and Freedom,” makes an argument for a broader representation and a redefinition of feminism that diverges from what she characterizes as a revisionist and radical feminist agenda. Jessica Valenti, in “Who Stole Feminism?” makes an argument against what she frames as a co-optation and re-branding of feminism by conservative women.
Issue: Should "Transgender" Women Benefit from Gender Equity Policies?
YES: Laurel Anderson, from "Punishing the Innocent: How the Classification of Male-to-Female Transgender Individuals in Immigration Detention Constitutes Illegal Punishment Under the Fifth Amendment," Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, & Justice, 2010
NO: Stephanie Bloyd, from "’Bathroom Bill’ Sparks Accessibility Debate," Club Industry: Fitness Business Pro, 2009
Laurel Anderson examines the gap in the justice system’s current policies relative to the concerns of the transgender community. She suggests that the detention policies currently in place provide insufficient protection to female detainees and place the safety of “trans” women in particular jeopardy. Stephanie Bloyd examines bathroom parity and accessibility within the framework of gender equity relative to the experiences of transgender men and women.
Issue: Should Public Restrooms Be Gender-Neutral?
YES: The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, from "Talking Points about Gender-Segregated Facilities," Toilet Training: A Companion Guide for Activists, 2010
NO: Merritt Kopas, from "The Illogic of Separation: Examining Arguments about Gender-Neutral Public Bathrooms," University of Washington Master’s Thesis, 2012
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project provides an overview of New York City’s anti-discrimination law, passed in 2010, and its impact on previously gender-segregated facilities. Their piece is designed to allay concerns about what the law will mean in practical terms for both cisgender and transgender individuals. This excerpt from Merritt Kopas discusses some of the most common arguments against creating single-user gender neutral restrooms and multi-user mixed gender restrooms, including the ideas that requiring single-user gender neutral restrooms is not cost effective and that multi-user, mixed gender restrooms are potentially unsafe for children.