Gender gap and safety

Linda Purrington (
Wed, 12 Aug 1998 22:56:19 -0700

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In high school classrooms across America,
girls, not boys, are setting the pace, a survey of the nation's
young people says.
And while large numbers of American teen-agers believe their
opportunities are boundless in the 21st century, many are concerned
about their safety at school right now.
In a look at the attitudes and expectations of the millennial
generation, young people who will spend most of their lives in the
21st century, the survey finds that many of today's students
believe crime and violence are the greatest problems.
At the same time, Generation 2000 finds racial tensions and
discrimination and poverty and unemployment to be of far lesser
Nearly 71 percent of the respondents believe there will be many
available opportunities after they graduate -- 72 percent for whites
and 63 percent for black teen-agers.
The survey, ``The State of Our Nation's Youth,'' is an annual
product of the Horatio Alger Association, which is dedicated to
furthering the ideal that hard work and determination are the keys
to American success stories.
By and large, it said, girls are outperforming boys in terms of
academic success and expectations of entering such fields as
medicine and law.
The researchers found that of the 18 percent of students most
successful in their academic work, 63 percent were females and 37
percent were males.
``In general, females worked harder at their course work
(averaging nearly 10 more hours of homework per week) and received
better grades than males,'' the report accompanying the survey
said. ``Females challenged themselves more frequently to take the
most difficult courses available and were more likely to agree that
the amount of work they do now is important to their success in
later life.
``Consistent with their hard work and better grades, female
teens now have income expectations no different from those of
males,'' the report said.
Three times as many teen-age girls as boys say their top career
choice is medicine and more than three times as many say they would
choose law.
While 11 percent of boys look to engineering careers, only 1
percent of girls do, the survey said. Six percent of the boys
questioned said they were considering careers in computer software
compared with 2 percent of girls.
Conducted after a rash of violent and sometimes deadly incidents
at schools across the country, the survey found that only 40
percent of public school respondents said they always feel safe in
And about 60 percent said they don't believe all available steps
have been taken to assure their safety and security.
The survey was based on four-page, mailed questionnaires
completed by 1,195 young people 14 to 18. They were selected from
representative households in each of the nine U.S. Census regions.
Materials accompanying the survey results gave no margin of error.

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