Myra Sadker Day
March 5
         A National Effort to Break Gender Barriers
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Myra Sadker Advocates page

The purpose of Myra Sadker Day is to create a national rallying point to promote gender equity. This visible marker will draw on a national corps of volunteers in an effort to break the gender barriers that inhibit both females and males..

The first annual celebration of Myra Sadker Day will be held on March 5, 1998, on what would have been Myra's fifty-fifth birthday.

Myra Sadker: The Person

This day is named in honor of Dr. Myra Pollack Sadker (1943-1995). Dr. Sadker pioneered much of the research documenting gender bias in America's schools. From grade school through graduate school, from inner city to rural towns, she uncovered not only blatant gender discrimination in textbooks and sports funding, but also subtle patterns of inequities that shaped the way teachers instructed students. She found that boys dominated the classroom, receiving more frequent, active, direct and precise instruction. Sometimes this attention was positive, sometimes negative, sometimes it was appreciated by boys, and at other times boys found the spotlight uncomfortable. Sitting in the same classroom, Myra Sadker found that girls, regardless of racial or ethnic or class background, were being consistently, if unintentionally, shortchanged.

Such bias is not confined to schools. From corporate board rooms to social and recreational settings, females still find themselves the object of biased words and behaviors, frequently silenced or short-changed by the expectations and actions of others. And males also pay a price. Sexism often blinds boys to a real understanding of the meaning of their future role as husbands and fathers, missed opportunities which add to the high divorce and child abandonment statistics later in life. High teenage pregnancy rates among females and the culture of violence surrounding males are other costs of gender stereotyping. This is a cycle which needs to be stopped. Sexism is not a "girls' only" issue. It is a two edged sword: sexism injures girls, but it harms boys as well.

Through her writings and lectures, Myra Sadker alerted Americans to the academic, physical, psychological and career costs of sexism. She wrote the first book for teachers on the issue of sexism in 1973. Over twenty years later, in 1994, she co-authored the first popular book on this topic: Failing at Fairness: How America's Schools Cheat Girls. Between these two publications, Myra Sadker brought her cause for educational equity to a national audience. Along with her husband David, Myra Sadker spoke in more than forty states and overseas, giving hundreds of presentations and workshops for teachers and parents concerned with the negative impact of sexist behaviors. She wrote scores of articles on how to raise and teach children free from the debilitating impact of sexism. She also spoke out on this issue on a variety of television shows ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Dateline, from the Today Show to National Public Radio's All Things Considered. Even in the face of political opposition, Myra Sadker never waivered in her efforts on behalf of youth.

The Myra Sadker Advocates are dedicated to building and expanding on Myra's ground breaking efforts, and continuing her advocacy on behalf of children.

Myra Sadker: The Day

Myra Sadker Day will draw volunteers from around the nation, volunteers who individually or in groups, will identify, plan, and implement at least one activity that increases gender equity and understanding. These activities will range from modest gestures to major initiatives. As an example, a leading participant in this effort, The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, will be enlisting both staff and members at clubs throughout the nation to participate. Volunteers, who are called Myra Sadker Advocates, include teachers and parents influenced by her writings and lectures, former students, youth service workers, children of all ages, and citizens from across the nation who are committed to the goal of gender equity.

The day will be fueled by the commitment of these volunteers. Their energy will be evident through a range of efforts including: creating an award ceremony for the boy and/or girl who does the most to promote gender equity, visiting to a women's college, working with adults and youth to eliminate gender bias in their language, interviewing non-traditional workers to learn about the benefits of nontraditional occupations, reading non-sexist stories to younger children, developing posters that promote equity, doing presentations about gender equity in schools, attending a women's athletic event, creating a videotape, organizing workshops for men on effective parenting strategies, reformulating organizational norms, rules or activities to construct a more equitable working climate. Key to this concept is that each Advocate will be encouraged to be creative, to develop unique equity activities that reflect the interests and capabilities of their community. Yet together they will be part of a national effort in accomplishing these goals.

Myra Sadker Advocates

Myra Sadker Advocates are currently seeking corporate and individual participants.


David Sadker
Myra Sadker Advocates
Suite 300
1401 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
TEL (301) 738-7113
FAX (301) 424-0474