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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Gender-equity videos scheduled

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 13 - November 19, 1998

Given the millions expended by federal, state and local governments, public education in the United States is our largest single expense and, perhaps, our longest-running source of controversy. Since a 1994 study by the American Association of University Women, though, there's a new question: Are America's schools failing America's daughters?
It's an intriguing question. Can two students, one male and one female, get a different education in the same classroom?
The studies say yes. Emphatically. Curricula are indeed slanted toward boys. Girls are discouraged from studying math, science, and engineering even though statistically they have better grades.
Two half-hour television programs produced by Virginia Tech's Video Broadcast Services for Public Broadcasting's Adult Learning Channel discuss gender equity with Sue Rosser of the University of Florida in Gainesville, and David Sadker of American University in Washington, D.C.
The two video programs, moderated by Katherine Allen, Tech professor of family and child development, are scheduled to air at 4 p.m. December 2. For more information, call Nancy Gibson at 1-5149.
Sadker and Rosser were the principal speakers at a summer institute, Leadership Strategies for Gender-Fair Counseling and Learning, held in August at Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center.
Rosser, who is director of Florida's Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research, is the author of Female Friendly Science. She also holds an appointment at the University of Florida Medical School and says that the problem of gender equity in science is illustrated by research in cardiovascular disease. Researchers feared "the menstrual cycle and the interference of drugs, but really, more significantly, pharmaceutical companies feared testing a drug in a woman of child-bearing age."
Consequently, the data available to physicians treating women with cardiovascular disease is incomplete and therapies that were developed for the male body don't work with women.
Sadker, who is the author of Failing at Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls, says while gender bias may be unintentional, it is still pervasive. "We teach girls different rules. We teach them [to be] docile and quiet. But they have to develop a public voice. Being quiet does not work."