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Mathematics teacher's gender bias cuts short bright rural girl's life: A case illustration
Here is a constructed case illustration to learn lessons from by gender-stereotype male teacher of mathematics who themselves have are struck with notion of male superiority in mathematical ability. The case illustration revolves around a rural girl who took up mathematics as an elective subject at senior secondary while studying at a residential school.

Mala Devi (17) took mathematics as an elective subject at grade level 11 since she got almost a perfect score in mathematics in her secondary school examination after being taught by a female teacher for two years in grades 9 and 10. Her grandfather and father felt very proud of her achievement and encouraged her to pursue further studies in mathematics. They had high expectation from Mala who was full of verve and wanted to be a mathematician.

However, in grade eleven, she got a male teacher (40) to teach her class of 25 students that had three girls only and two of them came from urban areas. These urban girls had already done a major portion of grade 11 mathematics through a private tutor during summer vacation after secondary school examination. The teacher many times ridiculed Mala when she wanted certain concepts to be clarified or not performed up to the mark in class tests.

Mala often encountered stereotypical negative status expectations in mathematics classroom from the teacher who gave more attention to boys and urban girls. Even he ridiculed Mala and said that rural girls are 'not cut out for mathematics' and her class X mathematics marks were as a fluke. On a number of occasions, during parent-teacher meeting (PTM), the math teacher complained to Mala's parents and grandparents that she was performing badly in mathematics and would fail in the final examination.

In the third quarterly examination, Mala failed her math paper. She got depressed and all her verve and liveliness disappeared. She got torn between the rightful parental expectation and lack of academic support from teacher and his bias. Just before the annual examination, in the last PTM, teacher was really harsh on Mala in front of her parents. Mala's parents left meekly before advised her to work hard. They hurried to their village which was two-hour journey from the school.

Next day, in the evening, they were informed on the phone that Mala had committed suicide and they must report to civil hospital at the district headquarters to claim the body.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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