Thoughts on the advantages of single-gender education for girls

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Thoughts on the advantages of single-gender education for girls

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As both the mother of a girl and a professional parent trainer, I really believe in single-gender education for girls. Not so much in elementary. I think boys and girls should be co-ed in elementary school. But I really saw the benefits of single-sex education in middle high, junior high, and high school when my daughter started in 7th grade at an all-girls' school. now I remember junior high and high school. And I remember being distracted by boys. And I remember spending all my time gossiping about a boy I had a crush on or my girlfriend had a crush on. I remember wanting to hide grades so the boys didn't see if I got a better grade than them. I think boys are really distracting. And one of the things that happened for my daughter's education was she was at a place where she didn't have to worry about make up or clothes. She just went to school and learned. And every single leadership opportunity was for a girl. There wasn't the boy gets to be the president, the girl gets to be the secretary. In this school, captains of the sports teams were all girls. Leads in the plays - male and female- were all girls. All the winners, all the prizes - the math, chemistry, whatever, all went to girls. They all had opportunities to succeed. Now my daughters and her friends are all in their 30s now. And I think they carry themselves a little stronger, chin a little higher. They don't see glass ceilings. For these girls, the sky's the limit. And I do think it has a lot to do with a single-gender education.

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Cynthia G. Whitham, LCSW

Director, UCLA Parenting & Children’s Friendship Program

Cynthia G. Whitham, LCSW, Director of the UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Program, has been training parents for over 30 years. She is the author of two books, Win the Whining War & Other Skirmishes: A family peace plan, and The Answer is NO: Saying it & sticking to it, which have been translated into nine languages. In addition to her UCLA group classes, Ms. Whitham has a private practice on the east and west sides of Los Angeles. In 2000, she spent a month training clinicians at the National Institute of Mental Health of Japan. A lively speaker, Ms. Whitham does presentations and trainings for schools and organizations. Ms. Whitham raised two happy, healthy, and (relatively) well-behaved children (she thinks that may be the best credential of all). Daughter Miranda McLeod is a fiction author and is in a PhD program at Rutgers University. With sadness, Cynthia tells us that her son Kyle died in 2007, within months of graduating from San Francisco State University.

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