Gr 6-9Hanmer begins with shocking facts about the inequities that women face in our society. For example, "If a Barbie doll were a real woman five-feet five inches tall, her measurements would be 38-17-28." "Fifty percent of all nine-year-old girls have been on a diet." In Gender Gap, she explores issues of self-esteem, eating disorders, sexual harassment, scientific thinking, and standardized tests "within every ethnic group, girls score lower than do boys."). The author shows how teachers, male and female alike, treat female students differently than male peers from preschool through college. One chapter gives the history of female education in the United States and the place of females in math and science courses. Black-and-white photos help visualize the concepts being developed in the well-written text. This is an important, well-documented book that should make female students aware of when and how they are being treated differently. A list of organizations that deal with gender bias is included. Hanmer states the problems and offers solutions in a well-organized fashion.Sandra L. Doggett, Urbana High School, Walkersville, MD
This Issues in Focus entry is a no-holds-barred look at the continuing gender gap in American education and its profound effects on society. Following a list of stark statistics that gives credence to the existence of the gap at every level, from preschool to post-secondary institutions, Hanmer examines the patterns of injustice and how they affect girls (and the women they become) emotionally, economically, socially, psychologically, and physically. She makes clear that only recently have researchers begun to observe the disparity between the ways boys and girls are treated in the classroom, citing groundbreaking studies in the field. Pointing to the successes of single-sex schools and offering suggestions to young readers on how to become more aware of issues of self-esteem and fairness in the classroom, Hanmer concludes that everyone must work for change so that no child will answer the question "What's good about being female?" as a California girl did: "There's nothing good about being a girl. I wish I was a boy." A thought-provoking study of a national problem.