In conducting my classroom as an egalitarian place, I may be doing the girls in my care a disservice. I am certainly not preparing them for the real world. Because the real world is a place where young women will be judged by the quality of their backsides and not their ideas, where they will find that their minds are sometimes not as valuable as their cleavage, a place where they will be required to work twice as hard for half the professional rewards that will more easily accrue to their male peers. Those are the hard and real facts of life in 2012.
As a feminist of long-standing, I've been thinking about this for quite some time. My largely unsuccessful campaign against "you guys" is part of my effort to combat stereotypes of girls. But my careful decision to never gender my expectations of leadership or status seems almost quaint in light of the UN report. And I find myself feeling disheartened and less willing to think in terms of how far we've come but more in terms of how far we must still travel.