This article by Anna Dabrowski was published on The Conversation on July 15 and questions whether there is a place for single-sex schools in the modern educational landscape. It’s fairly brief, but refers to a number of studies that have found no difference in educational outcomes for students when they are separated by gender, and highlights some of the possibly damaging effects of segregation according to gender, particularly as our understanding of gender has developed, recognising it is not necessarily a male/female binary.
Personally, I have never been a supporter of single-sex schooling, it seems inherently counter-intuitive to me. I attended a co-education school and feel that my experiences of interacting with male students, and having to hold my own against them, has definitely prepared me for interactions with males as an adult. The reality is, females are often given less respect and precedence in work places, we often are expected to ‘prove ourselves’ in ways male colleagues don’t have to, and i think this is exacerbated by failing to expose students to these gendered interactions from an early age. Anecdotally, (and I know a lot of people will argue strongly against this – there are a whole range of experiences) I think a lot of females who went to all-girl schools tend to be surprised by how hard they have to fight to be heard when in gender-blended, and often male-dominated work environments, and males from boys schools often assume it to be their right and privilege to be heard first, having been given that opportunity for so many years.
In life we don’t interact in solely male/female spaces, and when considering school as preparation for life, I think that all students interacting and working together makes sense.