Education inequality between men and women continues even after several measures have been put in place. Men continue to dominate most of specialized courses in universities and other institutions of learning. This is partly due to the system created earlier, which rendered women incapable of competing with their male counterparts on the same level. Hegemonic factors thus continue to play an important role in perpetuating educational differences between men and women in many institutions of learning. From primary school to university, men continue to dominate almost all areas from sports to learning. Cultural and social practices are also to blame for the persisting difference. However, with increased efforts from governments and other organizations, women continue to show positive results in education when compared to their male counterparts. This paper discusses how hegemony differently affects men and women in the university. It also discusses ethical issues arising from hegemon, and negative impact of hegemony on teacher effectiveness.
According to Mihelich & Storrs (2003), advancement of women in education is mostly considered as a panacea to solving many problems that societies face around the world. Education was considered to be for men for a long time, and this led to building of education systems that supported the development of male child, while blatantly discouraging the female child from even accessing the institution of learning. As such, a culture of male dominance in education was created. Male supremacy defined everything in educational settings. Teachers were mostly male, courses were male-oriented, and programs that did not align with the needs of women were popular in educational institutions. Ultimately, this form of education supremacy continues to affect men and women in different educational setting to date. This paper discusses how hegemony affects men and women in the university.
Effect of Hegemony on Men and Women in the University
According to Adria (2011), education in the university is based mostly on social and gender constructions. Most of the educational programs and activities that are propagated in public universities support hegemony of men in the society. For instance, men who aspire to enter universities choose subjects that they are going to study based on what the society considers as “male” subjects. Therefore, courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are mostly preserved for male students by the university administration. In the same way, men tend to avoid courses related to nursing or other specialization that they consider feminine.
Hegemony also affects men and women in the university due to stereotyping. Since certain subjects are popular with men, women become discouraged to enter such courses partly due to lack of necessary qualification and partly due to the inward feeling that such subjects are traditionally dominated by men and, therefore, no woman can succeed in them. As a result, women inherently discriminate themselves from joining lucrative courses in the university with the view that they cannot succeed in that field. As such, male dominance discourages women from even attempting to venture into a new field.
Sporting activities play a crucial role in how students perform in their academic work. Male students dominate most of sporting activities in the university. On the other hand, female students fear joining sports because they think that only male students are best suited for those activities. As such, male students get scholarships based on the kind of sports they play to study in the university, which cannot something be accessed by a female student with the same .
Hegemony in the university also affects the way male students select their group members. Mihelich & Storrs (2003) observe that in classes where women study with men, some male students prefer doing group assignments with their male colleagues because they believe that women have little to bring to the group. Thus, hegemony contributes to discrimination of women in education by their male colleagues. On the other hand, whenever women are included in these discussion groups, they develop inferiority complex and accept everything men say in that group. That is, they feel that they have little to contribute to the group because they are women.
Ethical Issues and Hegemony
Hegemony in university education leads to discrimination, where some people are denied opportunities that they deserve. For instance, students may be denied an opportunity to study disciplines of their choice based on their gender, race, religion, or any other characteristic that they may have. This is mostly because people, who are dominant by nature, tend to think that people with characteristics different from their own cannot perform on the same level. Similarly, hegemony leads to stratification of social classes in education systems, where people associate only with representatives of their class. This division into classes is the cause of differences among education systems and institutions that exist among societies. The need to appear superior to the other group has led to creation of boy schools and girl schools, which are only attended by boys and girls respectively. In the same way public and private institutions have appeared because of the need to differentiate social classes that exist among men and women.
The issue of discrimination should be addressed through education, where children and the society at large are informed about the importance of integrating all kinds of people. Parents can teach their children, both boys and girls, about the importance of appreciating all genders in the society. In the same way, girls need to be encouraged to develop confidence in their education so that they could compete fairly with boys in the same fields (Jay, 2003).
Jay (2003) further claims that male dominance in education has caused an influx of male professors in universities. Such lectures, most of the time, do not understand the needs of their female students. In the same manner, sexual harassment of female students in universities is increasing with male lecturers demanding sexual favors from their female students to give them better grades.. Women students who refuse these demands risk failing courses and may not be given a chance to retake them. This is a demonstration of how men continue to dominate education. Encouraging more women to become lecturers can solve this problem.
Additionally, deconstruction of classes that are based on hegemony in universities should be encouraged by university’s administration. One way of doing this is to lower requirements for entry in fields that are male-dominated. For instance, university administration can consider admitting women with a lower grade in comparison to the grade men need to enter the same department as a way of encouraging more women to join it.
Negative Effects of Hegemony on Teacher Effectiveness
Hegemony impacts effectiveness of teachers because teachers tend to think that some students are stronger than others in certain fields. For example, an engineering teacher may assume that female students in his class are weaker compared to male students and may focus on the latter during the lecturing process. Similarly, some teachers can view students of certain race or gender as being better suited to perform in their class than others. This can make some students fail the course even where they were supposed to pass (James, 2001).
To ensure effectiveness, teachers should give all students equal opportunities to learn. In addition, teachers should be trained to perceive the needs of different students in their class as individual needs. They also should not try to generalize them as characteristics associated with certain people or gender. Teachers can also encourage their students to form groups which will include both males and females.
Philosophy of Education
Education is a tool that illuminates the cohesion between men and women in a society. As such, it should encourage socialization rather than de-socialization that was popular in the earlier years. Education settings have to provide a platform where men and women can socialize and compete on the same level, thus helping to reduce social stereotypes against women. Similarly, women ought to use education to prove their capability to competing equality with men instead of feeling inferior and blaming cultural ideologies. Universities should cultivate a culture where men and women are given equal opportunities to participate in education and sporting activities.
In conclusion, hegemony in education continues to affect men and women differently. On one hand, men fight to perpetuate their dominance in some fields, while, on the other hand, women are intimidated by the dominance of men in those fields. However, with continued sensitization, there is a possibility of women becoming to be on the same level in education as men are.