Gender-Specific Programs Seen as Valuable Tools

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In 2006, a report by the Girls’ Coalition of Greater Boston criticized afterschool programs for overlooking the needs of girls. The report said the needs of boys were assumed to be the norm and, in some cases, gender stereotypes were reinforced. It sought to prod changes within programs, and it pointed out funding disparities.

This was not the first assertion that girls were being shortchanged. Studies have pointed out a lack of science and technology education for girls and drops in girls’ confidence in the classroom. More recently, a crisis among boys has been asserted, identifying alarming graduation rates among boys, especially boys of color.

Gender-specific programs are positioned to address these issues, say the leaders of groups such as Girls Inc., which operates a network of locally managed girls’ nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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