Some parents — and educators — think that all-girls’ schools create a falsely safe space, removing a girl from the influences of the opposite sex. This unrealistic environment, they contend, may render her ill-prepared for co-ed life.
We disagree. Her world will continue to include boys and men — in extra-curriculars, at home, on weekends and holidays. And, finding her voice, collaborating on projects and excelling in academics will prepare her for a purposeful life.
In a single-sex school, a girl can comprehend her value and her capabilities in ways that have nothing to do with how she looks or whom she dates. She can be free to experiment and explore, trying out new things and trying on new roles. She can follow her ambitions without wasting a second thought or a backward glance on how her male counterparts might perceive her.
By subtracting boys an all-girls' education adds opportunities. At a girls' school, a girl occupies every role: every part in the play, every seat on the student government, every position on every team. Not only does she have a wealth of avenues for self-exploration and development; she has a wealth of peer role models.
In an all-girls' atmosphere, classroom dynamics shift. Alumnae often report that they could not "hide" in their school. Without the distraction of boys, girls can have a greater ability to focus on their work—and teachers can demand that such work meet the highest standards.
- When rating their computer skills, 36% of graduates of independent girls' schools consider themselves strong students, compared to 26% of their co-ed peers.
- 48% of girls' school alumnae rate themselves great at math versus 37% for girls in co-ed schools.
- Three times as many alumnae of single-sex schools plan to become engineers.
Girls' schools create a culture of achievement in which academic progress is of great importance, and the discovery and development of a girls' individual potential is paramount. Time in the classroom is spent learning.
When you combine strong female mentors and positive role models, reduced sex stereotyping in curriculum and classroom, and abundant learning opportunities, the results are clear. In the 1990s, a national study of secondary schools and colleges, The Case for Single-Sex Schools showed that single-sex schools for females provide greater opportunity for educational attainment as measured by standardized cognitive tests, curriculum and course placement, leadership behavior, number of years of formal education, and occupational achievement.
There is so much more to learn about all-girls' education. Read research and order publications here.
If you are a parent considering enrolling your daughter in a girls' school, there are additional resources for you here.