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Does Same-Sex Education Reinforce Gender Stereotypes?

“The bottom line is that there is not good scientific evidence for the academic advantages of single-sex schooling. But there is strong evidence for negative consequences of segregating by sex — the collateral damage of segregating by sex.”

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Are boys and girls neurologically different? Do they learn differently? Are their mental capacities the same? What are the positives and negatives of separating students by gender?

These are all legitimate questions for the academic world to wrestle with. But they certainly have important implications to youth ministry, as well. Like so many other things in youth ministry many of us segment small groups and even Sunday school across gender lines. Chances are good that you either have your own theory as to why that is done or it has just always been done and that’s the way it is.

The quote I pulled above takes the question to a different level– one that may even be applied beyond gender boundaries and into other contemporary issues. “Does segmentation by gender foster the creation of positive/negative stereotypes?” (Of course, the philosophical question to explore as well, could be “Are gender stereotypes inherently positive/negative or are they simply a natural occurring phenomenon in social structures?)

What are your thoughts? When it comes to your ministry when/why do you segment your group by gender? 

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