Under the “Cloak of Invisibility”: Gender Bias in the Classroom in Chile

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Marina BASSI, Inter-American Development Bank, USA
Rae Lesser BLUMBERG, University of Virginia, USA
Mercedes MATEO DIAZ, Inter-American Development Bank, USA
This paper presents findings from videotapes of teacher-pupil interaction and its implications for gender equality in education. We coded 190 videotapes of Chilean fourth graders recorded for non-gender purposes and found a ubiquitous (although not uniform) bias in teachers’ actions that always resulted in less attention to – and quantified time spent on – girl students.  We call this “under the cloak of invisibility” because the fact that all subgroups of teachers short-changed girls was not detectable by the research team: four coders operating in three countries on three continents, as well as the principal investigator, were surprised when the quantitative results showed us that on every conceptual variable we coded, girls received less attention from teachers than boys. Furthermore, on time spent, recorded in seconds, minutes and hours, the results showed mostly the same or higher levels of de facto teacher bias – in the form of under-attention to girls – than the conceptual variables. Many studies have documented specific areas of under-attention to girls but we found it across the board. We will discuss the policy implications of these findings and possible pathways to overcome these challenges.