Single sex schools were the only kind of school which existed for many years starting as far back as colonial times. But they were usually boys' schools as girls were still considered inferior and generally not worth educating. As the country grew and education matured with it, coeducational schools became the norm. The idea was to promote the equality of the sexes. Girls would be given the same opportunities as boys to learn and advance.
In theory coeducation is a good idea. But there were many subtle prejudices against girls which had to be overcome. Gender stereotypes, for example, held many girls back. Women could be telephone operators, nurses and teachers but not doctors, lawyers or business executives. And so on. These barriers for women were real in most of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Fortunately things began to change dramatically towards the end of the 20th century. As a result women can now be found in all kinds of jobs and situations which their mothers and grandmothers could only have dreamed of. With these changes came a realization that girls do indeed learn differently. Girls' schools which had suffered a drop off in attendance and popularlity back in the 1970's began to experience a renaissance. Organizations like the NCGS unfurled the banner of single sex education and enthusiastically promoted the values and advantages of educating girls' separately. Girls' schools rediscovered their niche in the American educational scene. They shared ideas and strategies which helped them regain their financial strength and vigor.
By the end of the first decade of the 21st century girls' schools are scoring genuine achievements as evidenced by the important research paper referred to in the headline of this article. Women Graduates of Single-Sex and Coeducational High Schools:Differences in their Characteristics and the Transition to College was written under the auspices of the University of California at Los Angeles. Read Dr. Linda J. Sax' detailed research. This is solid academic work which makes a compelling case for girls' schools.
Is a girls' school right for your daughter? Only you and your daughter can make that determination. But, if you are considering boarding school, it makes sense to investigate this exciting option thoroughly.