In the listening comprehension part of my Spanish language course, there was the following statement: "Teresa's father works as much as her mother." When answering the question "Who works more, Teresa's mother or Teresa's father?", only 20% of students got the answer right. Academically, it tells me they are still not very comfortable with the Spanish expressing "tanto como" which in English means "as much as." This is no big deal because we have a lot more time until the end of the semester to get this construction right.
What is a lot more disturbing, though, is the sexist nature of the answers coming from the students who did not recognize this construction and decided to guess the correct answer. Every single one of them guessed that Teresa's father works more than her mother. Even though there was absolutely nothing in the text to lead them in that direction. If it were a matter of simple, ideologically untainted guesswork, at least some of the 80% of students who got this answer wrong would say that the mother works more. Somehow, the students' vision of men and women still revolves around the father who works hard and the mother who does a lot less. This makes me very sad because in the low-income families these students for the most part come from, women in all probability work full-time jobs and contribute as much as men. Their contribution, however, is overshadowed by the ideology that presents women as working less than men.