For 25 years the members of the PCT have worked tirelessly toward gender equity for our students. With the passing of the Title 9 regulations to the Federal Education Act in 1972, our district set up a Title 9 Committee to work along with a federally mandated compliance officer to ensure that all students had the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
We've come a long way since 1972 when girls took home- economics while boys took shop, and girls took cosmetology while boys took mechanical drawing and auto mechanics.
We've come a long way since 1972 when girls and boys not only participated in different physical education activities, but girls were encouraged to be ladylike ( the hidden message being don't sweat, don't be aggressive, don't be a real athlete).
We've come a long way since 1972 when job titles clearly told girls and boys what they should and should not aspire to. Policeman, fireman, waiter, mailman, fisherman clearly told our children who was potentially able to fill those roles.
We've come a long way since 1972 when the hidden curriculum called upon boys to carry those (heavy) books and encouraged them to be AV monitors, while girls were called upon to write (neatly) on the board. Boys were expected to be boys, but girls were expected to be ladies.
Today, members of the PCT are working to be sure that all students are encouraged to become full people. All students have the opportunity to take all courses. Physical education classes are coed, and girls as well as boys are encouraged to "go for it". We are vigilant about our language, and use non-sex defining job titles such as waitperson or server, mail carrier etc. We are careful not to use phrases such as the pioneers and their wives. Pioneers is sufficient . It refers to women and men.
The Title 9 committee reviews all proposed texts to be sure that they are free of gender stereotypes. Due in part to our efforts in telling publishers that we found their books unacceptable, the publishers have changed their materials, and now most books are gender equitable.
One of our most important changes over these 25 years is in the area of competitive sports. We now strive to give girls equal opportunities to play and to excel so that both sexes have opportunities to win championships as well as scholarships.
How can parents help to ensure that their children are growing up free of sex-role stereotypes? Be careful of language. Try to avoid those old-fashioned words that tell about the sex of the worker as well as the job. Try to avoid steering children into games or toys that are "supposed " to be for one or the other sex. Try not to discourage children if they show an interest in something that in past days was for the "other" sex. Encourage children to be athletic. Encourage children to excel in academics as well as in athletics. Encourage children to be feeling, caring, empathetic people. Encourage children to be daring, to try new things, to have new ideas, to aim high, and most importantly to be themselves.
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