In the cover story in the latest Time titled “Who says a woman can’t be Einstein?” experts have argued that having separate schools for boys and girls is actually beneficial; at least in the initial years. Before you cry out in horror, let me explain their logic. It is common knowledge that girls mature faster than boys; emotional, mentally, and physically. An old wives’ tale argues advises you to marry a girl at least 3-4 years younger than you because of the argued differences in the maturity level (don’t ask me where I got that from). Women like to boast about this fact and men grudgingly acknowledge. Of course, the differences converge as they grow older but in the initial years, the difference is quite marked. So, why do we group both boys and girls of the same age in the same learning environment? They definitely will have a different learning curve and ability to grasp knowledge will be significantly different. Girls will learn stuff quicker and will feel stifled while the boys struggle to catch up.
Leonard Sax, physician and psychologist, whose book Why Gender Matters argues vehemently for different learning environments. After analyzing complaints from parents worrying that their sons had attention-deficient/ hypertension disorder, he concluded that young boys and girls would be better off in separate classrooms altogether. Coed schools teach boys and girls as if their brains mature at the same time. Girls develop their sensory perceptive powers faster than boys and boys are focused more on the reasoning abilities but treating them similarly just means that “by age 12, you will girls who don’t like science and boys who don’t like reading“. That partly explains the women-men differences in science. It is not entirely biology but in fact, effect of the environment that tend to widen the biological differences.
I am not sure, this makes sense. Is there a significant difference in outcomes between students from coed schools and single-sex schools? The research results are inconclusive. Personally speaking, I went to a coed school all my life and the boys were routinely trumped by girls for being at the top of the class. But as years progressed, the differences converged and ultimately in my science-oriented junior college, the top rankers were mostly boys. This however doesn’t prove that women aren’t smarter in sciences than men but in fact, just points to prejudiced expectations.