Do girls do better in single-sex or co-educational schools?
Up to now, discussion has centred on girls’ academic achievements in single or mixed-sex groups, but Pat Mahony’s research clearly demonstrates that this is not the only issue, and that co-education is damaging for girls socially as well as academically. She challenges the argument that co-education is desirable because it is more normal. Her research reveals that it is normal for girls to be ‘put down’ in class, to be verbally abused and sexually harassed by boys, and yes, this will be their ‘normal’ experience as women. But does this justify the way girls are treated in schools? Pat Mahony goes on to explore some of the reasons behind this state of affairs and suggests that the answer lies in sexual politics, not biology.
The book concludes with practical suggestions for bringing about change in schools, including case-studies from existing projects.