GSE Grads Awarded Prize

Husband-Wife Team Win Eleanor Roosevelt Fund's R&D Award

Two graduates of the Harvard School of Education will receive the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Research and Development Award in recognition of their research on bias against women in classrooms.

David Sadker will accept the $5,000 award at a banquet this evening in Orlando, Fla., at the American Association of University Women (AAUW) convention. In addition, the organization will establish a $15,000 teaching fellowship in memory of Myra Sadker, who died recently of breast cancer.

The husband and wife team are responsible for what the AAUW calls "ground-breaking research on...pervasive, yet subtle gender bias against girls in America's classrooms."

AAUW Foundation president Alice Ann Leidel called the Sadkers "pioneers in exposing the insidious nature of gender bias against girls in America's schools."

The Sadkers' most famous work, Failing at Fairness: How Schools cheat Girls, was the result of a decade of research which began during the couple's time together at the school of Education.


While taking the same courses, the two noticed that Myra Sadker's comment were barely acknowledged in classroom discussion, while David Sadker's and other male students' comments were responded to enthusiastically by professors, David Sadker said.

"As graduate students, we realized that while we were sitting in the same classroom and reading the same textbooks, we were receiving different educations," he said.

Failing at Fairness, which discussed the different methods used by teachers to teach boys and girls, sparked numerous scholarly articles and books on sexism, according to the AAUW.

This initial effort was followed by six more books by the couple and more than 75 articles on the subject.

Myra Sadker's Sexism in School and Society was the first textbook ever designed to help teachers overcome sexism in the American school system.

With the new fellowship, AAUW hopes to further reduce gender bias in American classrooms by working toward to ideal established by Myra Sadker's work.

She was well known for saying, "If the cure for cancer is forming in the mind of one of our daughters, it is less likely to become a reality than if it is forming in the mind of our sons. Until this changers, everybody loses."