Prominence of girls and boys in the classroom: Schoolchildren's perceptions

Marilyn P. Safir, Rachel Hertz-Lazarowitz, Shoshanna BenTsvi-Mayer, Haggai Kupermintz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several studies have revealed teachers' asymmetric perceptions of girls and boys in their classes. The present research examines these effects on schoolchildren's own perceptions of the prominence of male and female peers in school relevant categories. A total of 147 (native born, Jewish middle class) second and sixth graders participated in the study. A questionnaire in two versions was prepared: One formulated in the masculine plural, habitually used in Hebrew as the generic plural for both sexes. The other in both masculine and feminine (optional he/she) plural, also admissible in Hebrew usage. Overall, students judged more boys as prominent, even more so in sixth grade. Subjects also pointed to same-sex peers as prominent. Surprisingly, the sex-optional formulation of the questionnaire did not decrease stereotyping perceptions. Results raise questions about the status of girls in school. Implications for girls' future as achievers in modern society are discussed. Furthermore, the effectiveness of language manipulation in Hebrew regarding sexist vs. nonsexist attitudes is put into question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-453
Number of pages15
JournalSex Roles
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Nov 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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