Monday, January 10, 2005

I Thought We Were Supposed to be Equal!!!!?!

I realize I may be opening up a can of worms with this one, but oh, well.

A few days ago the junior high section of my school had its entrance exams. After all the testing was done and the nervous applicants were allowed to shuffle back home, we had the meetings to discuss the results. That was when the real controversy started. You see, the average scores of the male examinees dropped, whereas those of the females increased. Again.

This has actually been a steady trend over the past several years.

So what did the experts in our "power tower" decide? Well, during the first meeting, which only included members of the curricular planning committee (of which I'm not a member), there was a strong movement to reduce the ratio of girls accepted. The reason was then made very clear during the subsequent general faculty meeting:

"Girls are harder to take care of than boys, so we should favor boys in our student body."

Excuse me?

Actually, the principal's predecessor's predecessor had a very strict policy. He insisted that the ratio of boys to girls be kept at a flat rate of two to one. The reason? "Girls tend not to go on to become productive members of society." The principal that replaced him repealed that policy, at least on paper, and thus the percentage of girls increased, but boys continued to dominate. This time, however, if we accepted applicants based solely on their exam results, the ratio, while not quite 50-50, would be pretty close...certainly much closer than at any time in our school's history.

We couldn't have that. Oh, no. Student guidance is much harder with girls...particularly since girls nowadays are actually becoming more assertive and actually expressing their own opinions (while the boys are becoming more timid and childish). Obviously we have to reduce the percentage of girls and put more effort into bringing the boys up to par.

Well, my gaijin patience reached its limit, and I raised my hand to express my opinion on the topic. Actually, what I did was explode. I started out by saying, "Has this school fallen into a time warp and wound up back in the Meiji Era (late 19th century, when girls were first go to school)?" After politely insulting the people that had suggested setting an artificially low ratio of girls for reasons that were pathetic to say the least, I went on to suggest that, as an elite, college-aimed prep school, we should only pay attention to the academic performance of the applicants and naught else. I then concluded by asking the female members of the faculty why none of them had spoken out against such blatant chauvenism.

I was roundly applauded by the faculty, something that happens extremely rarely at any kind of meeting. However, the vice principal in charge of the junior high responded by saying (between nervous giggles) that our school wasn't yet ready to embrace the "radically new concept" of increased female enrollment. While not accepting the suggested fixed low ratio of girls, in the end they did make the entry requirement for girls significantly more difficult than for boys, resulting in a boy-girl ratio of about 1.5 to 1.

Then I read this article. Perhaps this is what the people in our "power tower" are really afraid of. Or perhaps this just goes to justify their views. I just hope that schools in the U.S. don't start using stuff like this as an excuse to start setting unrealistically high standards for girls and low standards for boys just for the sake of "evening things out". All I can say is, this is a pretty nasty blow against the concept of gender equality.


ladybug said...

Gross! Do they have girls only schools-maybe that's one solution for Japan. At least studies here have shown girls have significantly higher academic performance at Girl/Women only high schools and colleges. Curiously, this doesn't translate to boys only schools. Boys do better w/mixed group. Then, they outperform the girls as well-the researcher didn't know if it was because the school subtly favored boys, or because girls "dumb" themselves down to not outperform the boys. In any case, girls in an all female environment outperformed males in either male only or male/female mixed schools.

Food for thought!

Don Snabulus said...

Sample Japanese Test Question (translated):

Hitomi has 3 Spirited Away plush dolls. She gives 2 to Chieko. Who is the dreamiest pop star in all of Nippon?

DewKid said...

Stupid girls.

Vulgarius said...

Sample Japanese Test Question (translated):

Hitomi has 3 Spirited Away plush dolls. She gives 2 to Chieko. Who is the dreamiest pop star in all of Nippon?


The twin fairies from Mothra.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Yes, there are all-girl and all-boy schools in Japan even today. The highest level senior high school in Ibaraki Prefecture, Mito First S.H.S. (which, believe it or not, is a PUBLIC school...but with very exclusive entry requirements) is boys only. My school was boys only until the mid-80s. Most of the higher-level academic schools with college-aimed programs were all-boy at one time if not still so. The reason is simple: women are supposed to become housewives even if they go to college, so it doesn't make sense for them to go to elite institutions (or so they say).

The fact that more women ARE entering the elite colleges and are actually outperforming their male colleagues in more and more ways is one of the things the government and media blame for all our current social ills. Many lawmakers and columnists are trying to claim that the recession occurred when women started getting married later.

In our school there are at least as many problem boys as problem girls and probably even more. The trouble is that the faculty tend to ignore the problem boys (i.e. since they are "men", they have to be able to solve their own problems). On the other hand, everyone feels we have to babysit the girls and protect them. Therefore, problem girl students attract far more attention (and take up far more time at staff meetings). That's why that faction of teachers is saying we should adopt a policy fixing a reduced quota of girl students. The really sad thing about it is that almost all of the problem students didn't enter our school via the entrance exam. They came in by "special recommendation" (whatever the heck that is...probably money under the table). That in itself is enough to render the whole argument moot as far as I'm concerned. It's like trying to fix a leaky roof by removing half of it and then extending the other half. Not only will you still have a leaky roof, but you'll have one really dorky-looking house!

Stupid chauvenists.

(Ha ha ha! Up yours, DewKid!)

The Moody Minstrel said...

That is incorrect, Vulgarius.

Right now the dreamiest media star in Japan is (*gasp*) a KOREAN!!!!!!!!

My, my how times change!

DewKid said...

Stupid Minstrel.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Uh, hey, now look!

I have a map of the Colorman's tunnels, Dewey-boy! Remember, they go EVERYWHERE.

DewKid said...

EVERYWHERE?!? Even.... the...... (ulp) aft shaft?


The Moody Minstrel said...

ESPECIALLY the aft shaft.

Believe me...I carry a gas mask and a package of Q-tips with me whenever I venture into those things...