Children who attend boys-only or girls-only schools are more likely to accept sexist stereotypes and to be sexist, a study by psychologists claims.
Experts suggest that despite the majority of single-sex schools achieving strong exam results, there is no evidence that this is down to keeping girls and boys apart. The high exam results could be due to the single-sex schools selection processes, as they admit only academically bright pupils.
Researchers claim that “there is no well-designed research showing that single-sex education improves students’ academic performance.” The report, published in the Science journal, also claimed that “there is evidence that sex segregation increases gender stereotyping and legitimises institutional sexism.”
The study suggests that instead of benefitting pupils, single-sex education can actually have a negative effect on children by reinforcing sexist stereotypes. “The strongest argument against single-sex education is that it reduces boys’ and girls’ opportunities to work together in a supervised, purposeful environment,” said the report.
Boys spending more time with other boys are more likely to become aggressive and have behavioural problems, while separating off girls can lead them to accept gender stereotypes, argued the study, reports the Telegraph.
Interestingly, a British study carried out in 2007 claimed that it was more likely that men in their early 40s would be divorced if they had been educated in single-sex schools as opposed to those who went to mixed schools.