Last week, students from all around the nation debated on the issue of gender equality in education in our #DoNowMalala post. We asked young folks why is it important for boys and girls to receive equal opportunities in education? What societal problems can be caused by an inequality in educational opportunities? Do you think there is inequality in educational opportunities in America?

October 11 was International Day of the Girl, and the PBS NewsHour was able to interview Malala Yousafzai, a courageous young advocate for girls’ education from Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Last year, Malala was targeted and shot by radical Taliban militants while on her school bus. She was a youth blogger for the BBC advocating girls education in her native Pakistan, and continued to go to school despite a Taliban ban outlawing women’s education. Malala made a full recovery, and has since used her newfound fame to highlight the discrimination that girls often face when seeking an education in the developing world, and why girls’ education is so essential to the health of a society.

This topic was by far our most successful week where we received over 2,000 tweets. Below is a recap of the conversation.

Instead of jumping into the issue, many students expressed great appreciation and admiration for Malala’s bravery to stand up for what she believed in.

As the week progressed, there was great debate about whether there is gender equality in education. Many felt that gender inequality is an issue, not just in education but with broader societal issues. Below is a common exchange about the issue.

Many felt that inequalities surface more in other countries and that progress is being made here in the U.S. and the gender gap is closing. Some felt that there is a gap in education, but the problem extends beyond gender. Some students provided insight on possible solutions to fix the gender gap. Some wanted to focus on the importance of education and that if there are inequalities in any shape or form, they are worth fighting for.

The Gender Gap is Worse Abroad

The Gender Gap in the U.S. Extends Beyond Education

But, Progress is Being Made

Some students acknowledged the inequality but managed to find a silver lining.

There is a Gap, But It’s Not Based on Gender

Many believe the problem of equality in education extends beyond gender.

Education is a Right Worth Fighting For

Others chose to focus on the importance of education highlighting that education is a right worth fighting for.


One student took on the challenge of proposing solutions.

The Achievement Gap Extends Beyond Gender in the U.S. 8 March,2017Matthew Williams

  • Isaiah

    I think that everyone should be able to learn what others learn. I think that it is vital that everyone has a education. limiting one person is very wrong. Also I believe that we all should be able to pick what and when we learn. I don’t think that education should be enforced upon us. Instead it should be given as a free option, if we chose to use will be in our hands.

    • Clare and Maya

      Education is really important and I think it should be enforced. If it was just an option taxes would stop going to public schools. This would cause these schools to be shut down because they are funded by the government. This would result in only upper class citizens getting an education and lower class families wouldn’t progress. They would loose the opportunity. Our country (in a sense) depends on the next generation being educated in order to bring us further, without that we would fall behind. Eduction benefits the entire country as a whole, not just the kids being taught.

    • Asha H

      Isaiah, I agree
      with you on the fact that education should be equal with men and women. Yet, I disagree
      with your words of “Education should not be forced upon us.” Education is
      important and while everyone should be educated, men and women, it should only
      be unenforced after high school unless of personal circumstances. For example,
      if a person is to be educated at a young age, but their religion or money gets
      in the way, it’s unlikely for them to continue. We, as people that go to
      school, are lucky enough to have the education we have. Others that don’t have
      very well education or little education, wish that they could have what we do: especially
      women. There is still segregation in counties that restrain women from
      education. In the future, we shall hope to see equality in all counties. Women,
      like men, have the right to be educated. With the help of everyone, we can make
      the world more of a learning community not just from schools, but each other.
      Men and women both.

    • Kezia, Lindsay, Emily

      We agree that everyone should be able to have an education, however- we strongly disagree with you when you say that education shouldn’t be enforced. If people got to choose when and what to learn, probably the majority of them would choose not to learn at all.

  • Amjid KW

    I defiantly agree with you Isaiah, everyone should have a fair chance to be educated because if they have a good education they will have more opportunities open to them later on in life. Also, once a person has a good education then they have a better understanding of things going on around them and know how to deal with things in a efficient way.

  • K.R.L.

    After reading this article we started thinking that equality for women in the U.S is less of a problem in education during elementary through high-school and more in what comes after. We all have heard about how women in the workplace are still being judged based on their gender. Even in our own minds, when we picture a car salesman or a construction worker, we immediately picture a man doing those jobs. Even in the cases that a woman were to get those jobs, there’s still the problem that they’re unlikely to get payed as much a man would or get a promotion. So you see, even if it’s not obvious to us, the problem of gender based inequality in the workplace is still there. This is preventing women from achieving their greatest potential.

  • Amjid KW

    It is very important for boys and girls to have equal education opportunities because if boys had a better education than girls than boys would become more superior to society and would be more valuable to have for a position for a job etc. Girls and Boys should have an equal opportunity to learn so they have equal opportunity’s in life.

  • Madelynn

    By reading this I think its very unfair that they aren’t allowing women to go to school, why can’t they go? What did they do to deserve this? Women aren’t much different from men, but why are they treated so poorly in society and politics? We’re both humans, we all live together, we work together, so tell me why women are still unequal? All boys and girls should be able to learn together in a safe environment. They shouldn’t have to put up for a right they should already have, no one should have ever taken it away from them in the first place. I think we should all have the same rights, and a safe environment to learn without being treated unfairly.

  • MACE

    Boys and Girls need to have equal rights in education because it is unfair that girls are stereotyped, and that girls are suppose to be “ladylike” and be “housewives” and not get an education because they should stay home and take care of the children and cook. That is not true because women are just as successful or more successful than men, they deserve the same rights as anyone else.

  • Charlie and Adanya

    Gender inequality is an issue almost everywhere, but it’s an even bigger problem in other countries. Men and woman are equal they can do the same thing. Therefore, education should also be enforced, not just an option, because every child should have basic knowledge, so they can get more opportunities in jobs. Everyone should be given an education because the more people we have educated, the more people have the capability of earning themselves a living.

  • Saini and Moiranda

    Gender equality is a big issue everywhere in the world. I support Malala in fighting for womens’ rights. Even though she got shot, she showed bravery and still continued to go to school and later do research on gender discrimination.
    School should be an environment where gender shouldn’t matter. Education should be a right to all so they can all have equal opportunities to a good life where they’re not falling under a certain gender’s stereotype. The more people we have learning about gender discrimination, the more we can encourage gender equality everywhere in the world.



Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams is a filmmaker and media educator who has recently transplanted to Oakland from Los Angeles. He believes that you are what you eat and feels everyone should have a multitude of dietary options for self-realization. Matthew is the Educational Technologist at KQED.

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