Competitive Girls Rule the World

By Emma Latendresse ’20

A group of the sixth graders at Catlin visited the Upper School to meet with the New Media Studies class.

A group of the sixth graders at Catlin visited the Upper School to meet with the New Media Studies class. (Photo: Nico Hamacher)

Editors’ Note: For three weeks, the Catlin Gabel sixth graders split into gender groups, in which most classes were segregated by sex. At the end of their experience, the sixth graders reflected on the merits of single-sex education. After the class chose the best pieces, the elected writers visited our New Media Studies (CatlinSpeak) class and workshopped their pieces with our staff. These articles are the final products of the class of 2020’s hard work.

Larry, our sixth grade science teacher, told us it would be easier to do our upcoming oral reports in front of our all girls gender group, but he couldn’t be more wrong. Everyone in our science class agreed that reciting our oral reports was harder in front of just girls. Many people think that the same gender work better together and cooperate, but when it comes to school, girls can be cut-throat! Each girl worked their hardest on their reports, and there was an air of competition in the room.

To be honest, even though it made our oral reports more difficult, girls need to learn to be more competitive and be okay with it, because if they don’t, women will still be paid less than men. All across America, the very place that prides itself on a fair chance for all, women are still getting paid 77 cents to every dollar made by a man. I think that if girls and women were as competitive as we were during our oral reports it could change the world as we know it.

Gender groups, three weeks of having just girls in all our core classes, was one of my favorite things we did all year. It gave us all a chance to open up, and be more honest with each other. Ellie Nicholson a fellow classmate said that “girls feel more open with other girls because they know more of what they are going through.” I agree with that because it gave us a chance to talk about strong women, and real beauty which we usually don’t talk about in an average class; it inspired us all greatly. I loved gender groups, and I hope generations of sixth graders will have them.

Some say women shouldn’t have to be competitive, they could be the model of collaboration. I think that timid women should lean into their jobs and be competitive with men for the higher spots because if they don’t, nothing will change. Also, companies have to stop underestimating women, and give them the same chances as men. Just collaborating will not help women in this ever so competitive world.

Sheryl Sandberg, the feminist author of Lean In, once said “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.” I think that women being competitive can be just the thing to help women achieve equality to men. Now that I think about it, that room full of competitive girls, ready for their oral reports, may just be the thing to change our world.