Perceived gender differences have historically been used to establish distinct educational opportunities for girls and boys in schools, and to differentiate curriculum and instruction. This entry offers a historical overview of educational practices and how they were fashioned to meet corresponding ideas of what girls and boys are naturally prone to learn. The entry also presents findings in gender research.

Historical Overview

During American colonial times, schooling was mostly the privilege of boys from wealthy and middle-class families of European descent. It has been estimated that in New England in 1780, women's literacy rate was about half that of men's. One of the aims of education at that time was the development of the literacy skills needed to read the Bible and other religious texts. Women, whose ...

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