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Gender Equality in Online Learning

Gender Equality in Online Learning

Computing usually considered a female-dominated industry, with women opting not to work in IT. Is this going to change as online learning and online tutoring becomes more popular? Researchers have claimed that women disadvantaged as online learning becomes more popular. Some argue that we need a “women-friendly cyber-classroom” to make sure that all students can learn. In actuality, however, women tend to perform better than men in this test. There do seem to be some negative effects from distance learning. Especially for those female students who are alone in their studies. The assumption is that online courses should be designed with the user in mind. So that no learners are disadvantaged in any way.

Introduction

Pandemics have forced various sectors of society around the world to implement unprecedented measures in order to contain them. The disruption of education systems caused by this event was also the largest interruption in the history of education. Around 1.6 billion children and young people were unable to physically attend school as of March 2020. Due to temporary school closures announced by the majority of countries.

The results created a unique situation for all stakeholders in the education field. Forcing most schools to switch to digital learning. Prior to COVID-19, numerous EU institutions and international organizations called for the adoption of technology in educational systems. However, most European school systems still utilized face-to-face instruction. As a result of the virus outbreak, schools forced to move online with no preparation.

Compromising the learning of all children. Especially those who would be at a disadvantage in a virtual classroom. School closures attributed to COVID-19 viewed in the light of gender gaps in digital literacy. Which have called for by UNESCO and scholars. In light of the numerous studies which indicate the existence of gender differences regarding the use of technologies and related skills. It is imperative that we evaluate gender differences in important elements of digital learning. A stereotyped domain which, during the COVID crisis, became a necessity in children’s lives.

The Role of Gender in Digital Learning

There have concerns raised about equity in digital learning. Girls disproportionately burdened by barriers and difficulties in using computers and ICTs generally. Specifically, it has suggested that boys likely to benefit from online classrooms more than girls simply. They perceive themselves as being more adept, comfortable, and engaged online. Study findings in these contexts tend to be heterogeneous. A recent meta-analysis with university students revealed that young women expressed higher competence beliefs.

Regarding learning in a digital setting than young men. Boys have a clear advantage over girls in confidence regarding their ICT capabilities. This pattern appears to be largely consistent from elementary to university levels. Apparently, this is because girls and women perceive themselves as more academically competent. Which reduces any negative stereotyped effects in this digital context. Some studies have shown that girls are less likely than boys to have positive attitudes toward ICT and digital learning.

To perceive digital learning as having fewer benefits, and to have lower satisfaction with digital learning. In contrast, studies have shown that attitudes toward digital learning and ICT participation and motivation are not different between boys and girls. Several studies have suggested that girls possess greater motivation to learn in digital environments. The gender digital gap has narrowed more recently, according to some authors, with fewer differences in the use of digital expertise, attitudes, and motivation between men and women.

The Stereotypical Gender Gap Influencing Online Learning

Due to the stereotype that ICT is stereotypically masculine, it is likely that digital learning gender differences reflect students’ self-perceptions of their gender roles rather than their biological sex. As individuals have come to recognize that they describe themselves in terms of stereotypically feminine and stereotypically masculine attributes. Regardless of their biological sex, an increased interest has placed on the self-concept with respect to gendered domains.

According to previous studies, adolescents who describe themselves with distinctly masculine characteristics (for example, independent, competitive, and brave), have higher mathematics performance and competence, whereas adolescents who describe themselves with distinctly feminine characteristics (for example, kind, sensitive, and gentle) have better reading performance and motivation, which is stereotypically a female characteristic.

Moreover, androgynous individuals possess broader repertoires of traits and behaviors, meaning that they are more flexible and adaptable to different situations, due to their high levels of both masculinity and femininity. Conversely, individuals who fail to differentiate themselves are the least adaptable and functional. Studies investigating gender differences in digital learning, however, have so far emphasized biological sex alone, disregarding the importance of gender role self-concept in adolescents’ competence, value-related beliefs, and engagement.

The previous sex difference studies in digital learning were all conducted pre-pandemics when pupils weren’t constantly exposed to it, and they were also not subject to it on a mandatory basis as they during pandemic lockdowns. As a result, this study investigated gender differences in digital learning environments during pandemic-related school closures by including both biological sex and gender role self-concept.

Conclusion

With a more in-depth examination into the situation of women and men in DE, it became increasingly obvious that there were imbalances based on gender, and it was necessary to address these imbalances in order to provide equal educational opportunities for women and men who choose to study by distance. Despite the fact that women, on the whole, equally represented in DE systems, the distribution of men and women in different subject areas was according to the traditional division of labor, with men valuing science and technology subjects, while women valuing education, the social sciences, and the arts. 

The preferred mode of learning of women tends to be about being connected, which can usually not be accommodated by distance learning. However, women are often required to balance their distance studies with work commitments, which often makes it difficult for them to pursue studies at the same time. Online homework help is making distance learning easy for them. The lack of transport and childcare problems are among the obstacles that far-reaching women distance students face when trying to attend tutorials and study centers.

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