Single-sex classes encourage women’s leadership

Jovel Queirolo
Managing Editor

Single-sex education provides a comfortable and less awkward environment for girls to be themselves as they grow into women while removing social competition during their teen years.

Competition for male attention is virtually nonexistent in Convent classrooms. Sally doesn’t have to fight Jane to be lab partners with Mark. No guy-girl flirting goes on in Convent’s halls. Class time is not spent gazing at the back of some dreamy boy’s head.

Boy drama carried into school is hard if not impossible to prevent. The presence of awkward teenage relationships still exists, but not to the extent where couples are making out in the hallway or breaking up. Boys cannot physically be a distraction. With no boys around, Convent girls don’t necessarily dress to impress — some don’t wear makeup, some don’t shave their legs everyday and still others wear their shapeless, unflattering school sport hoodies for warmth, not fashion.

For some high school girls, guys in the classroom may feel intimidating, leading them not to speak up. Society has and continues to celebrate men’s leadership, yet CSH celebrates women. Women fill all student leadership positions. The student body president is a girl. All the star athletes are girls. The editor-in-chief of the newspaper is a girl.

When a teacher asks a question in class, it’s always a girl that answers. If a student’s computer isn’t working and she’s looking for another student’s help, she asks a girl. No turning to a guy for help with math or something mechanical. At Convent, all the math geeks and physics geniuses are girls.

This kind of educational environment may contribute to the fact that nearly 60 percent of women graduates of independent single-sex schools rate themselves “above average” with regard to intellectual self-confidence — a much higher percentage compared to girls at coeducational schools both independent and public, according to a report by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools.

Some seniors say they are tired of a tight-knit, dramatic community that occasionally stifles. They say they’re ready to integrate back into normal male-dominated society, but encourage underclassmen to be grateful for the encouragement, opportunities and a place to develop confidence in a single-sex environment for the last four years.

Convent’s school Web site says the school has been “dedicated to the education of young women and their intellectual, spiritual and social development since 1887.”

The school’s commitment to women’s leadership and education sets CSH apart from any other local co-ed school because it is a safe environment for young women to grow as leaders and thinkers. Single-sex education reflects and spurs the changing role of confident women in society.

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