This essay describes a comparative analysis of two texts, that relate to gender studies of youth in London. The first study is concerned with their achievements in the classroom and the second is concerned with their struggle to get gainfully employed after education ends…
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The researcher states that while both of these studies are gender related, each approaches the problem from a distinctly different viewpoint. In fact, both these studies covering aspects of gender and their reverberations in the social and cultural context of British society have started off from a historical and cultural perspective. Both comment on the changes that have occurred in the external environment that have an impact on how today’s youth think and feel. Included also is the change brought about by individualism, consumerism and the economic difficulties in making ends meet. The importance or uselessness of education, the need for money and the need to explore choices and have a good time are all covered being aspects of today’s teenager’s lives. They are confused and distraught at the lack of guidance that will enable them to achieve their dreams and aspirations, and look for true and valuable input that really makes logical sense rather than being sold courses that may or may not pay off in the long run. The second study by Francis makes special mention of the ethnic background of the children studied in three schools across the social strata Vietnamese Asians, Chinese, Indian and Afro-Caribbean children are mentioned. Elements of culture are also visible in classifications of the males as macho lads, academic achievers, new enterprisers and real Englishmen from the British perspective as compared to conformists, innovators, retreatists and rebels from an Afro-Caribbean viewpoint. Reasons for the Research and its Significance in the Social and Historical Context Although both books can be regarded as gender studies in their own right a review of each shows that these studies have a very different genesis and raison d’etre. While the Francis study is limited to boys and girls of adolescent ages and their achievements in a classroom context, the Ball et al. study has a distinctly wider perspective and reach. It touches upon choices relating to post high school primarily relating to work and employment. So in a sense the Ball study starts where the Francis study ends. Nevertheless, both studies it can be seen have their own utility and impact on life in the classroom and on the route to work and employment. Although the context and duration of the Francis study is limited to achievements in the classroom, it also relates the fact that gender discrimination can be seen here in various contexts and must be reduced. It is commendable that some changes have been evident since the 1990s, where boys and girls achievements in the GSCE examinations have been decreasing. Similarly we find that even out at work, there still exists a glass ceiling for females in management, disciplines like teaching and nursing are female dominated, and females are paid less than males for similar work. Added to this is the fact that a married woman has to play the role of wife, mother, office worker, cook, carer and confidante for her boss, family and kids in the course of 24 hours day after day. Admittedly all this is changing in the modern era where we have househusbands and working wives- but the work culture is still male dominated and will take some
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