Mary McLeod Bethune made contributions during her lifetime in the areas of feminism, transformative education, and social activism during the early twentieth century. Bethune’s first impact to education was when she became heavily involved in the women’s club movement. The Black women’s club emerged because of the growing need in the African American community to resist the effect of racism. Bethune later founded the Nation Council of Negro Women which used newsletters and journals to unite African American women for social action for the first time in U.S. history at a national level. The focus of the council was to end educational segregation, lynching, and discrimination of voting rights. Bethune’s educational philosophy was head, hand, and heart which manifested in her school and throughout her life. The curriculum Bethune practiced emphasized on vocational skills to enable the students to find jobs but at the same time should educate the African American youth to take their place alongside the White intellectuals. A proper education for African Americans must include race-pride and race-consciousness in addition to skills to get along with White people. More specifically Bethune viewed the education of African American girls was the key to equality. Bethune became actively involved in doing whatever it takes to better the lives of African American girls and women.
Eleanor Roosevelt was instrumental in the fight to end racial abuse to African Americans from the hands of American democracy. Without knowing, Roosevelt’s support for Marian Anderson was instrumental in the New Deal – this was to end the Jim Crow social practices in the nation’s capital. Anderson had accepted Howard University’s request in playing a benefit performance, but because of Anderson’s popularity the concert could not be held on school campus. The university applied for a contracted space at Constitution Hall but was rejected because the hall had a policy not to rent to Black artists. Roosevelt supported Howard University and Anderson but the manner in which Roosevelt did this was amazing. Roosevelt strategically supported Anderson without upstaging the local community or upsetting southern Democrats. Roosevelt publicly supported Anderson and always made calculated moves in order to effectively support her commitment. Ultimately Roosevelt wanted to education the population of the mistreating of African Americans in our country. Roosevelt believed that education was a cure for the evils of racism.
I believe that there is currently a gender gap within our society today. Currently the dropout rates, grades, and many tests scores show boys faring poorly compared to girls. The case used to be that women needed a college degree more than men but that is not the case. Men and women wages may differentiate at a similar position but a raise in earnings for a degree is almost the same. It is important to continue to motivate each gender. In addition, teachers need to be educated and sensitive to gender issues while being equal in teaching both genders. Many times teachers will award students based on gender – for example the highest scoring boy and girl will get a prize. As educators we need to move away from the notion of boy and girl and view them as equals. Another striking area is that women make up almost 60% of college graduates, yet we commonly see males serving the administrative roles of principles, superintendents, or commissioners of education. This is surprising because women make up the vast majority of teachers throughout the country. Obviously this is not always the case but more times than not, this can be visible. There are many theories on why there is still a gender gap and ways in which we can combat these issues. An issue may be the fact that there is a lack of female role models in the executive world. Also there are still many stereotypes affecting how society views gender roles in any sort of environment. In the classroom setting, women may be succeeding more but society still is favoring men in the corporate world.