Fast Company May 2000 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Fast Company May 2000 by Beth Cramer "Girl-gang members are the new mistresses of misrule" Harriet Rubin informs the reader about what she refers to as "girl-gangs". Girl-gangs are groups of women working together inside a major corporation. According to Rubin, girl- gangs, or all female staffs, exist in over 1000 businesses in the United States.

Rubin quotes a study by researcher Elizabeth Tidball that concludes that women are more successful when they spend their impressionable career years isolated from men. Rubin has found that the most successful women in history such as, college presidents, award-winning scientist and high ranking corporate officers, have all gone to schools with faculties where women are the majority.

The women in these female corporate gangs make their own rules and stick together. A team leader stated that the gang does not start work until 9:30 AM, because the staff needs to get their kids to school. The principle of love holds this group together. According to the team leader, there is no jealousy or competition for territory. The group believes that strength comes from unity, not diversity.

Even though this article is referring to women, not teenagers, I believe Tidball's theory can apply to young impressionable preteen girls. After four years of teaching sixth through eighth grader students, I believe that girls would do better academically and possibly socially, if they were separated from the boys in school.

Every morning, in my classroom, we begin the day with a morning meeting. The boys dominate the conversation while the girls smile or show little response. The boys control the mood and direction of this morning meeting. I attempt to pull the girls in with questions and comments, but their responses are short and reveal very little about themselves.

When I teach Earth Science, the girls very seldom answer questions presented to the group. Even when my students do not understand a new concept, a majority of the time it is a boy who will approach me and ask for an explanation.

This is my second year teaching the junior high female students. I feel I have gained knowledge about them socially and academically. I know their strengths and weaknesses in subject and social areas. I have talked to them outside the group- just girl to girl. I know they have strong opinions and are capable of voicing them, but choose not to in a mixed group.

If Tidball were to study this group of kids, I believe she would conclude that the girls would excel and perform better academically in an all-girl school. I would like to teach Earth Science to a group of girls that were isolated from boys in school. Would they feel the strength in unity that the corporate girl-gangs experience in their career? I know there are studies out there about isolating boys from girls in school. It would be interesting to see if these schools can produce successful women for the future.

-- Anonymous, April 23, 2000

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