Opinions Women on Campus

Staff Editorial: Students need more female influence in classroom

The Issue: Female influence at Brophy is significantly less than male influence.

Our Stance: Students should have access to a more equal amount of male and female faculty.

Brophy has over three times as many male teachers as female teachers.

How can the student body be prepared to enter a world with 51 percent women when we do not have a closer to equal population of male and female faculty on our campus?

Many students at Brophy graduate having only been taught by a few women. When students enter the real world, they will have to cooperate, interact with and be led by women on a regular basis, which could prove to be a challenge without more influence during formative high school years.

High school students are at a time in their lives where they are still discovering their view of the world. Without having enough strong female role models and the understanding that women play a huge factor in male lives, students could struggle entering into colleges with coeducational classrooms, or jobs with female coworkers and bosses.

A 50-50 male to female ratio would be ideal, although we understand that may not be attainable or practical given the all-male context of our student body.

But moving as close as we can get to that point would allow students to understand how females can play important roles in their life.

The school has made progress and come a long way in the last several decades. But there is work to be done.

Right now, there are 77 male faculty members who students regularly interact with, and 33 female faculty members. That means nearly 80 percent of the faculty members are men.

We believe this percentage is a problem. There is a deep need for stronger female influence on the Brophy faculty.

Principal Mr. Bob Ryan said that he agrees the school should have more female influence.

“In a rich educational environment, students should be exposed to a divesity of backgrounds and perspectives,” he said in an interview with The Roundup. “Our boys need examples of and good relationships with adult women.”

He said he thinks the faculty ratio needs to improve, but an all-male school should have more male teachers as part of its faculty.

He also said gender diversity among faculty is important, but added that gender is not the only factor in the hiring process.

Despite the current discrepancy, female teachers still have a huge impact on the students, which is why we think that the amounts should be equal.

Teachers like Mrs. Dorothy Dunnion, Ms. Beth Clarke, Mrs. Deb Kauffman, Ms. Breanne Toshner and a host of others each have made major impacts on their students.

Obviously, having male role models is extremely important for teenage boys. Brophy’s male teachers add tremendous value to the school on all fronts.

However, Brophy should work to make the diversity of its teachers more closely mirror to the diversity students will see in the real world. If our classrooms are not a microcosm of the real world, or at least our country, they cannot fully prepare us for life after college.

Some of the biggest issues our society faces today involve the relationships between men and women. These include topics such as the right to life, domestic violence, the gender pay gap and sex trafficking.

The best way that students can have meaningful conversations about these topics is if those conversations include female voices.

While we believe Brophy needs a better ratio of female to male teachers, it is also important to recognize the progress we have made.

At one point in history the school was staffed almost exclusively by male priests.

Many recently hired teachers have been females and the male to female ratio has improved.

Most notably, Interim President Ms. Adria Renke is the first-ever female president of a Jesuit high school in the United States.

We recognize that a perfect change cannot happen overnight; it is a process that is multi-layered and complex. But it is a process that needs to continue moving in the right direction.

Brophy has always been a school that holds diversity as a central tenet to a complete education. We hope this belief encourages the administration to continue to increase female influence in classrooms.

By Andrew Howard ’17 & Anthony Cardellini ’17

Staff editorials represent the view of The Roundup. Share your thoughts by e-mailing roundup@brophyprep.org or leave comments online at roundup.brophyprep.org