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Revista Estudos Feministas
Print version ISSN 0104-026X
REIS, Ana Paula Poças Zambelli dos and GOMES, Candido Alberto. Educational practices leading to the reproduction of inequality: the underrepresentation of girls among gifted students. Rev. Estud. Fem. [online]. 2011, vol.19, n.2, pp.503-520. ISSN 0104-026X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-026X2011000200013.
According to numerous indicators, Brazil and Latin America are very close to reaching the gender equality goal of Education for All. However, a more careful analysis of statistics finds some niches which are unfavourable to girls, since they are perceived by means of prejudice and stereotypes. This is the case of a state educational system in Brazil, where we detected a clear underrepresentation of girls in a program for gifted pupils. The research project aimed to analyze the criteria used for identifying and recommending pupils to enroll in such a program. Based on specifically processed statistics, the researchers selected the geographical area where underrepresentation reached its highest level. Then they conducted semi-structured interviews with schoolteachers as well as with teachers and psychologists of the Program. After that, each participant filled out a checklist of "typical" features and/or behaviours found in gifted girls and boys. Results revealed that schoolteachers underestimated girls' abilities and skills in the process of selection and recommendation for the program. According to interviews, their own negative image of woman partially affects this bias against female pupils. Nevertheless, the Program's teachers and psychologists had a much better understanding on gender inequalities and giftedness, compatible with specialized literature. Therefore, the underrepresentation of girls was a result of a largely biased, subjective selection process and recommendation at schools. As a consequence, teachers need adequate preparation if the educational system maintains the program.
Keywords : Gender; Stereotype; Gifted Students; Special Education.