Tag : education

Students at Duke University have spent the last few weeks on twitter about a female freshman student who flies out to Los Angeles on occasion during school and leads a double life as a porn starlet. The porn-star-student was outed by fellow freshman Thomas Bagley, reports The Chronicle, Duke’s student rag. Bagley told The Daily Caller that the starlet divulged her secret to him. Bagley said she swore him to secrecy. He obviously then went ahead and told a bunch of people at a fraternity event almost immediately but he still didn’t get into the fraternity.

The sex-worker student doesn’t want her real name revealed — or even her slutty porn name revealed — despite the fact that she has now done at least two interviews, written a monologue about herself and been invited to speak in various Duke classes on the topic of sex work.

She explains to XOJane:That a woman could be intelligent, educated and choose to be a sex worker is almost unfathomable.

The student claims she entered the adult film industry as a way to help pay the exorbitant cost of attendance at Duke, where the grand total for tuition, fees and room and board is about $58,000 per year. However, it’s not clear how much her extra-curricular activities help relieve her financial burdens.

The student describes herself as a “nerdy,” “very sexual” libertarian-leaning Republican. She wants to be a lawyer someday. For now, she is a “proud women’s studies and sociology double-major” who despises Duke’s Greek scene. She told The Chronicle that she feels “at home” when she is in the porn world. She feels less at home when she is on the Duke campus.

“I feel like girls at Duke have to hide their sexuality,” she explained. “We’re caught in this virgin-whore dichotomy.”

However, with increasing scrutiny of her private life, gossiping and external pressure it remains to be seen how this story will develop. The student claims it is “probably the most empowered I have ever felt”, but with her parents unaware of her moonlighting career and potentially getting pressured to leave the University and her dreams of becoming a lawyer it remains to be seen whether she’ll still feel the same way in the near future.

With gender inequality high in many developing countries it’s important to address how can we reduce the gap between the number of girls and boys being educated in poor countries.

Economists see reducing sexual inequality in education as a vital part of promoting development. The failure to educate girls limits economic growth in the developing world by wasting human capital. As a result, the UN set itself the target of eliminating gender disparity in education at all levels by 2015, as one of its Millennium Development Goals.

Although places like China, Bangladesh and Indonesia look likely to achieve the target, Africa, in particular, will not. For every 100 boys in secondary school on the continent in 2010, there were only 82 girls. The most common response is to channel more money to girls’ education. UN schemes finance school places for girls in 15 sub-Saharan countries. NGOs have got involved too. Camfed, a charity, now pays for almost 100,000 girls to be educated in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Looking at recently-published UN statistics on gender inequality in education, one observes that the overall picture has improved dramatically over the last decade, but progress has not been even (see chart). Although the developing world on average looks likely to hit the UN’s gender-inequality target, many parts of Africa are lagging behind. While progress is being made in sub-Saharan Africa in primary education, gender inequality is in fact widening among older children. The ratio of girls enrolled in primary school rose from 85 to 93 per 100 boys between 1999 and 2010, whereas it fell from 83 to 82 and from 67 to 63 at the secondary and tertiary levels.


In some places there has been little or no progress whatsoever. For instance, the enrolment ratio in Chad and the Central African Republic appears to be flat-lining at under 70 girls per 100 boys. These two countries look soon to be overtaken by Afghanistan, up to now the worst performing country in the world on this metric. There is also great variation within countries. The situation appears to be much worse in rural areas in Africa, where getting to school takes longer and may be more dangerous. For instance, in rural areas of Niger, UN estimates puts the number of girls per 100 boys at school as low as 41.

This is in contrast to dramatic improvements in gender equality in schooling seen in the rest of the world. South Asia, which lagged behind sub-Saharan Africa in 1999 at the primary school level, hit the UN’s 2015 target in 2010. Even the Middle East, where traditional religious prejudices often prevent girls going to school, has made substantial progress. Only Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen now have less than 90 girls per 100 boys at school, in contrast to over 14 sub-Saharan African countries.

Yet it is important to note that gender inequality is not the only problem in Africa. In many places there are not enough school places to go around for the boys alone. In Niger just 15% of both boys and girls were enrolled in secondary school last year. In the very poorest of African countries, simply funding more school places for boys or girls may end up boosting equality as girls may stop having to compete with boys for the few available spaces.

But other problems prevent girls going to school too. Some are kept away by the religious qualms of their families. Others are needed as child labour to prop up household incomes when times are tough, due to the lack of developed insurance or saving systems in these countries. Either way, gender inequality in Africa is a complex problem—and one which will need several different policy responses if the UN’s goals are ever to be reached.

There is a gender gap when it comes to behavior and self-control in American children—one that doesn’t appear to exist in children in Asia.


“We know from previous research that many Asian children outperform American children in academic achievement,” Megan McClelland says. “Increasingly, we are seeing that there also is a gap when it comes to their ability to control their behavior and persist with tasks.” (Credit: Dennis/Flickr)

In the United States, according to a new study, girls have higher levels of self-regulation than boys. In China, South Korea, and Taiwan, the study found no gender gap when researchers directly assessed the self-regulation of children ranging in ages from 3 to 6 years old.

Self-regulation is defined as children’s ability to control their behavior and impulses, follow directions, and persist in completing a task. The results of the study appear in the most recent issue of the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

“These findings suggest that although we often expect girls to be more self-regulated than boys, this may not be the case for Asian children,” says Shannon Wanless, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in Education in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education.

Settings matter

Although there were no gender differences in self-regulation when the children were directly assessed using a variety of school-readiness tasks in a quiet space, teachers in Asia perceived girls as performing better on self-regulation even when they and boys actually performed equally when assessed overall.

“Teachers are rating children’s behavior in the classroom environment, which has a lot of distractions and is very stimulating,” Wanless says. “It is possible that boys in the Asian countries were able to self-regulate as well as girls when they were in a quiet space (the direct assessment), but were not able to regulate themselves as well in a bustling classroom environment (teacher ratings).”

Wanless and Megan McClelland, an associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, along with coauthors at US and Asian universities, conducted assessments of 814 children in the United States, China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

School readiness

Their study showed that US girls had significantly higher self-regulation than boys, but there were no significant gender differences in any Asian societies. In addition, for both genders, directly assessed and teacher-rated self-regulation were related to many aspects of school readiness in all societies for girls and boys.

“We know from previous research that many Asian children outperform American children in academic achievement,” McClelland says. “Increasingly, we are seeing that there also is a gap when it comes to their ability to control their behavior and persist with tasks.”

Wanless says this study paves the way for future research to explore why there is such a large gender gap in the United States and what can be learned from Asian schools.

“What can we learn from Asian cultural and teaching practices about how we can support girls and boys to be successful in school?” she says. “When we see differences in developmental patterns across countries it suggests that we might want to look at teaching and parenting practices in those countries and think about how they might apply in the United States.”

‘Simon Says’

The research builds on Wanless’s previous work, which has shown that teachers who are more emotionally supportive help students develop better self-regulation, and that self-regulation is related to readiness for school regardless of children’s socioeconomic status, gender, culture, or other potential risk factors in their lives.

The researchers emphasized the importance of working with children, regardless of gender or culture, on their self-regulation skills. Practicing games such as “Simon Says” and “Red Light, Green Light” is one way that parents can work with their children to help them learn how to follow instructions, persist in completing tasks, and listen carefully.

Wanless is currently working to help Pittsburgh preschool teachers support children’s social and self-regulatory skills and working with Pitt School of Education colleagues to facilitate preservice teachers’ awareness of these skills.

“In our study, self-regulation was good for academic achievement for boys and girls,” Wanless says. “That means this skill is important for both genders, and we should be supporting self-regulatory development for all children, especially boys.

Low self-regulation in preschool has been linked to difficulties in adulthood, so increased focus on supporting young boys’ development can have long-term positive benefits.”

The US Department of State Fulbright Student Scholarship, the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund, the Oregon Sports Lottery, the Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society, the National Institute of Child and Human Development, and the National Science Foundation supported the study.

Source: University of Pittsburgh