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Schoolgirls: Youngwomen, self-esteem, and the confidence gap

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Theresa Heverly Book Review Schoolgirls: Young women, self-esteem, and the confidence gap By: Peggy Orenstein In 1990, The American Association of University Women conducted a national survey to find out the attitudes that three thousand boys and girls between the ages of nine and fifteen had about themselves and school. From their findings, they found that as young girls reach adolescence their self-esteem drops rapidly. It was also found that this loss of confidence was severe among ethnic groups. The survey also helped to support years of research evidence documenting gender bias in American Education. Peggy Orenstein in association with the American Association of University Women released her book SchoolGirls: Young women, self-esteem, and the confidence gap in 1994 in response to the survey report entitled Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America. In this book, Orenstein writes of her first hand experience with a behind the scenes look of adolescent girls' everyday lives. The narrative explores the human side of the statistics found during the report as well as providing insight into how the education system often restricts girls from getting the experience they deserve. ...read more.


Orenstein tells the reader that this is a common practice among this age because girls feel the need to express their feelings of powerlessness. This in return helps to alleviate the anxiety and the depression they are trying to cope with. The last chapter in this section takes a deeper look at s****l harassment at Weston. Both students and parents seem dazed by a teacher's enforcement of the schools s****l harassment policies, because nothing like this has ever been carried out before. The girls at Weston however, will begin to have an easier time at school, and that's the way it should be. In the Audubon section of SchoolGirls, which is broken up into chapters seven through eleven, the reader finds some different observations about the girls at this middle school. At Audubon, the hidden curriculum teaches students that their potential relies more on their ethnic and class backgrounds then just their gender. Chapter seven shows the reader that gender politics is a huge part of Audubon's everyday activities and that s****l harassment is overlooked. Orenstein declares that this hidden curriculum teaches boys that they can get away with harming girls during school. ...read more.


We still hear of stories in the news about unfair situations that have undermined our country's children. Our forefathers fought long and hard to give every person in this country the right to be treated equal. SchoolGirls: Young women, self-esteem, and the confidence gap brings to our attention that children are being treated unfairly. I believe that all teachers, current or aspiring, need to read this book. It is our duty as well as our job to provide a safe and fair learning environment to every student that walks into our classroom. I also feel that as parents, it is up to us to teach our children that girls can be just as smart as boys and they deserve to be treated this way. Children look to adults to set examples and this is how they learn to act for themselves. In order for our children to act civilized, they must see the adults in their lives acting this way. In my opinion, the only way to achieve this goal is to provide the proper education. We must start young and adults can start by reading SchoolGirls. This book provides a great in sight into what some girls go through at such an early age. ...read more.

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