Sociology Higher Band Essay

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Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the claim that gender differences in educational achievement are primarily ‘the result of changes in wider society’ (30 marks)
Girls have rapidly improved, compared to boys, in terms of educational achievement, as Item A states, since the 1980’s. In Key Stages 1-3, girls consistently do better than boys in writing subjects such as English; at GCSE, girls are 10 percentage more likely than boys to achieve five or more A*-C grades; at AS/A-level, girls are more likely to get higher grades. Additionally, at each stage of a pupil’s education, the gap gets narrower. Therefore, more girls go into higher education. However, this is not the case for boys as there are in changes in the both the education system and wider society.
As item A suggests, there are many external factors resulting in gender differences in educational achievement. One factor is the impact of Feminism. Since the 1960’s, feminists have challenged patriarchy by creating the ‘Feminist Movement’. This has help to improve the rights of women, as well as raise expectations and the self-esteem of women. Although many would agree that true equality with males has not yet been achieved, women have now started to reject the traditional stereotypes of women such as the ‘mother and housewife role’. For example, in McRobbie’s study of girls’ magazines shows how girls view of themselves have changed. She found that in the 1970’s, girls emphasised the importance of getting married and being ‘left on the shelf’. However, nowadays, they contain images of assertive, independent women such as Oprah Winfrey. As a result, girls are motivated to do well in education in order to gain the appropriate qualifications of well-paid jobs to move out of roles such as the housewife role. Therefore, the changing roles of women in wider society has led to girls striving for success…...

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