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November 10, 2012

Boys, Girls And Language

For about a year I taught at Beijing Foreign Studies University (http://en.bfsu.edu.cn/index.html in Beijing, People's Republic of China. I hadn't really thought of it before, but the vast majority of my students were female. This was strange enough in any context...

...but in China, with the one child policy in effect for almost a full generation and the population as a whole grossly numerically tilted toward males, and of course, the almost predictable cultural bias toward males in terms of access to education, the effect was even more surprising.

In looking back though, and considering educational trends across North America and Europe, it makes a lot of sense.

Not only do young women find language study and acquisition easier, (check out this recent study - ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-women-really-better-with-language), but my experience is that they also make far better students - and, at least North America and Europe - there are far more of them.

In 2004, for the first time in the United States, there were more female than male college graduates.

And in 2010, for the first time, the USA awarded more female graduate degrees than male.

This is all the more surprising when you realize that co-ed colleges were rare to non-existent in the USA until the late 1960s. Even Harvard University did not allow female students until 1977!

A lot has changed in one generation.

Who knows what this all means, but one thing for sure, the 21st Century will be completely different from any other century when it comes to men and women in the workplace. Opportunity, as always, awaits those who have a sense of where history is leading.

Let us know what word-related links or other resources you find useful or encouraging. We are all learning and making new connections all the time and sharing makes our journey much richer.

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf currently teaches English and writing for a local technical/vocational college with many international students. Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else likes and unlikely and ridiculous situations. And if you want him to visit your school or program, you can contact him at mmorf@mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at November 10, 2012 08:49 PM


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