Do I Show Gender Bias?

In any given semester, 60 to 90 percent of my students are women. Gender imbalance in higher education is well documented and is more pronounced among Hispanic students, who attend my college in large numbers, so my percentages don’t come as any surprise. As the mother of sons and an avid reader of books and studies about men in modern society, I worry about the “failure to launch” phenomenon.

I’m thinking about this now because I noticed something recently: Every student I have ever nominated for our college’s student-of-the-month award has been female. Every impressive student I have had has been a woman. In contrast to my undergraduate education classes, which warned against a bias in favor of males, I fear I might lean the other way.

Men and women pass my class, and I think I do a good job involving everyone in discussion. I’m kind of neurotic about equal participation in class, if I’m being totally honest. I’d like to think that I grade blindly, but now I’m starting to wonder.

The complex reasons for gender numbers in higher education aren’t something I can control. I do, however, have a responsibility to carefully evaluate my practices periodically to make sure I’m giving the best-quality education to all my students.

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