External factors affecting the
difference in gender achievement
1 THE IMPACT OF FEMINISM
1.1 Feminism is a movement that strives for equal
rights for women. The feminist movement has
had success and ultimately helped to raise
women’s expectations and self-esteem. This is
shown through media. All these changes
encourage girls to have ambitions and improve
their self-image and therefore could explain why
their educational achievement has improved –
they work harder to achieve their ambitions.
1.2 McROBBIE compared girls’ magazines in the 1970s
and 1990s. They used to be about getting married but
now they’re about being independent and strong.
2 CHANGES IN THE FAMILY
2.1 changes include: ^ divorce rate, ^ cohabitation, ^ no. of
lone parent families, smaller families. All these changes
affect girls’ attitude to education because more females
are needing to take the role of a breadwinner, so they
need to study hard in order to get a good job which will
allow them to be financially independent.
3 CHANGES IN WOMEN’S EMPLOYMENT
3.1 1970 EQUAL PAY ACT makes it illegal to pay women less than
men for work of equal value. Women are breaking the ‘glass
ceiling’ and achieving high-level jobs. All of this encourages
women to see their future in terms of paid work, not
housewives. Greater career opportunities and better pay
acts as an incentive for girls to achieve higher in school.
4 GIRLS’ CHANGING AMBITIONS
4.1 Girls’ view of their future/ambitions are changing. Supported by SHARPE
who conducted interviews with girls in the 1970s and 1990s about how
they see themselves in the future. In the 1970s, they had low aspirations
as they felt that educational success was unfeminine, which was
unattractive. In the 1990s, careers and being able to support themselves
was the girls’ main priority. They saw themselves as more independent.
4.2 FRANCIS (2001) asked girls about their career ambitions and
most had high aspirations, not many viewed their future
traditionally. These ambitions need qualifications, so it could
explain why the educational achievement in girls increased.