Gender Equity and Fairness in Schools
Reviewed by Kasey Short
Jason Ablin makes a bold statement in his final chapter: “Our educational system needs to be shattered and reconstructed to better address the developmental needs of children and how we perceive gender.”
All the preceding chapters give the readers the research to support his claim and the resources to make a difference. This book is a valuable and practical resource for teachers, administrators and stakeholders who are interested in promoting gender equity in schools.
The insightful and thought-provoking narrative delves into the complexity of gender equality in society and specifically in teaching and learning. Drawing on his extensive experience as a teacher and educational leader, Ablin provides a comprehensive analysis of how gender norms and biases are perpetuated within the schools and then offers many practical solutions for working toward a more equitable and inclusive environment for all students.
From research and theory to first-hand experiences
Throughout the book Ablin engages readers with a combination of research, theory, case studies, and his real-life examples and experiences. He shares stories of students, teachers, and parents he has worked with in his career to illustrate the challenges of creating gender equity, showcasing strategies he has found successful in addressing these challenges.
These stories help the reader visualize and make connections to the research presented and understand how everyday interactions with students can have long term impacts, both positive and negative.
Throughout the book I consistently made connections between his student examples and my own students throughout my career. This approach makes the book accessible, interesting, and important for a wide audience – teachers, administrators, policymakers, parents, etc.
He provides research and examples that span the education spectrum, including students from early childhood through their teen years and into adulthood. He highlights how gender impacts students at every state of their educational career, showcasing the pervasive and lasting impacts of gender bias and inequity. However, Ablin provides hope and inspiration by offering practical tools and solutions for readers to reconstruct systems and make impactful changes.
A wealth of short- and long- term options
While reading the book, I made notes of little things I could change in my language and approach and also long-term changes that are worth putting in place. By offering these options, Ablin helps readers feel both empowered to make immediate changes and motivated to keep working to solve the more complex, systemic issues.
In addition to the book’s extensive resources, the appendix offers numerous resources to help educators begin to create more equitable schools. It includes discussion questions for teachers, surveys for students, writing exercises, tools for evaluating and rethinking classroom spaces, and much more.
A guide for all educators
The Gender Equation in Schools is a valuable resource for anyone working in the educational field. The book is written with clear and concise language while providing insights and recommendations that are practical and inspiring. Gender equity is important and impacts all students, of all ages, in all classrooms.
This book is a starting point for beginning to understand the impact of gender bias on individuals and our entire educational system and then to work towards meaningful change. After reading his book, I began to follow Ablin on Twitter @JasonAblin and have enjoyed his content. His Tweets are a great way to continue hearing from him and learning more about gender equity and other current education issues.
Kasey Short (@shortisweet3) is the Middle School Director of Studies and an 8th Grade English Teacher and Advisor at Charlotte (NC) Country Day School. Kasey loves to share ideas from her classroom and writes frequently for MiddleWeb. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned a bachelor of arts in middle school education with a concentration in English and history. She went on to earn a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Winthrop University.