Levels of sexism

Research has shown that on the highest level of secondary school in The Netherlands (VWO), large groups of children left primary school with a recommendation for a lower level of secondary school. This holds for 21% of the girls, and 14% of the boys. The reason for this difference is not known, but the cries of “it is sexism against girls, who are systematically underestimated by their primary school teachers” are already sounding.

I would just like to point out that these numbers could equally well be pointing at sexist attitudes towards boys. The advice of primary school teachers (predominantly women, by the way) is supposed to be leading in distributing children over secondary schools. This advice is far more often ignored for girls, providing them access to a higher level of school, than it is for boys. This sounds a lot like girls getting the benefit of the doubt far more often than boys get it. It just depends on which perspective you take: the primary school perspective which is holding girls back, or the secondary school perspective which is welcoming girls in.

In the end, however, I would like to stress that in this reporting it is explicitly stated that the reasons for the difference are unknown. Therefore, cries of “sexism,” whether it is against boys or girls, are at this time unwarranted.

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