by Fudia Muhammad
According a recent study (August 2018) published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), entitled “Patient-Physician Gender Concordance and Increased Mortality Among Female Heart Attack Patients” – female heart attack patients had a significantly higher survival rate when a woman physician treated them in the ER. This study covered a span of 19 years and 582,000 heart attack cases. Male patients faired relatively the same whether the physician was a man or a woman; but there was a stark increase in survival for female patients who had women doctorsinstead of men. As one writer put it, “If you’re having a heart attack and you’re a woman, hope a female doctor greets you in the emergency room.”
This study is particularly relevant in a time when society is on an accelerated pace to all but eliminate any differences between the sexes – the prevailing message being that one’s biology does not have to align with one’s identity. However, according to this research, during a life and death emergency trauma; the one factor that could make all the difference is,biology.There are similar studies in medicine that prove the benefit of patient-physician concordance in gender as well as race. We also find this benefit experienced in other social institutions – employment, law enforcement, housing, politics and education.
According to The Muslim Program: What the Muslims Want, Point No. 9 reads, “We want equal education – but separate schools up to 16 for boys and 18 for girls on the condition that the girls be sent to women’s colleges and universities. We want all Black children educated, taught and trained by their own teachers. Under such schooling system we believe we will make a better nation of people. The United States government should provide, free, all necessary textbooks and equipment, school and college buildings. The Muslim teachers shall be left free to teach and train their people in the way of righteousness, decency and self-respect.”
The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad mentions separate schools, and in addition he emphasizes a special condition that the girls attend women’s colleges and universities. He does not include this condition for the boys. As with healthcare, gender concordance in education leads to a special advantage and benefitexperienced by girlsat a higher rate than boys. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad wanted our women and girls respected and protected; but he also wanted them highly educated. He envisioned women flying planes, navigating ships and serving as ambassadors. All endeavors are available for women to pursue; he only did not want women to participate in those fields that would degrade them.
America’s legacy of slavery, racism, bigotry, white supremacy and sexism has not spared anyone – all have been affected. This makes the ideal learning environment for our children to be one that reflects their individual history, experiences and their nature.
In his book, A Torchlight for America, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan outlines ten key components that must be implemented to fix the public-school system. One such component is to have separate schools for boys and girls. He writes, “We must understand that the natures of men and women are different, and that therefore we need separate schools for boys and girls through high school. In my view, it’s intellectual cowardice not to recognize and act wisely concerning the differences between the sexes…We can all see that the female is not like the male. But it’s deeper than that. Because of the difference between the sexes, if we hope to truly develop the person, the school has to train him according to the nature that God gave him and train her according to the nature that God gave her.”
When single-sex schools function properly, not only are our children free from the distractions that come with too much intermingling with the opposite sex; but the students significantly outperform their coed peersin all subject areas. Students are also far more confident, so girls find it easier to gravitate towards math and sciences in single-sex schools, while boys are not intimidated by literature. The learning style differences between boys and girls has long been researched and documented, right down to the difference in response to classroom temperature and discipline. One’s learning environment is directly related to their academic performance. Girls and boys, particularly in primary school, respond to subjects differently depending on the time of day the instruction takes places. According to researchers, some other notable differences are that boys generally need more individual space while learning and require an allowance for movement. Girls are documented to benefit from collaborative and cooperative activities and lessons while learning. Boys are also found to be single-task oriented while girls are natural multitaskers.
The two greatest objections to single-sex schools is that these schools make it more difficult to have positive interactions between the sexes; and secondly, separate schools will not be equally advantageous for girls. Both arguments are important, but the research finds no legitimacy to either claim. Regular daily interactions between the sexes continue whetheror not children attend single-sex schools. Children must still interact with their parents, siblings, other relatives, neighborhood friends, sales clerks, coaches, restaurant employees, etc., half of whom are of the opposite sex.
As for being equally advantageous for girls: Girls thrive in single-sex schools and are not intimidated by a rigorous curriculum. The encouragement, attentiveness and relatability fromother girls makes a huge difference. For this reason, single-sex schools for girls dare them to excel.It is a sin for a woman to be ignorant since a nation can rise no higher than its woman. If she is deprived of advanced learning, what kind of nation will we produce? You teach a woman, you teach a nation.
So, let’s end the debate on whether boys and girls learn differently – they do! The Holy Qur’an is clear, “And the male is not like the female…” (3:35). Boys and girls have distinct biological, neurological and psychological differences. So, yes girls can do anything boys can do, but they do it differently. Now what’s important is that educators, particularly in coed schools, understand and accept this fact. Educators mustalign their curriculum and teaching styles somale and female studentscanreach their full God-given potential and purpose. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that after our children have been educated separately by sex, “Then they could and should seek higher education without the danger of losing respect for self or seeking to lose their identity”(Message to the Blackman in America).
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)