Re: Is Sailing Sexist?
I think a HUGE part of this is generational and location. My wife and I learned together, separate classes because that is good "best practice" in education. Never take a class with your SO, no mater what the relationship. It allows for different experiences and you can then come back and share and learn even more. We have both insisted on trading all tasks so that we are both comfortable with them all. We can't even imagine "pink and blue" jobs around the boat (or house). It would be insulting (to most men and women) to suggest there is such a thing in our generation and location.
Living in rougher country, such as remote Alaska, usually flattens the differences between people. When it is -50F and your heater just went out, you don't really care who comes to your assistance. When I go south to larger cities, the gender roll differences REALLY stand out. This may have to do with the unrelenting barrage of media in the bigger markets.
On the "takeover for the gal" front, my wife sees this still on occasion and always points it out to me when it happens. It ALWAYS happens with the older, usually retired, male who is unable to even comprehend that a girl would want to do boy things. When working with guys our age, this never seems to come up. But then my wife is 6' tall, ex raft guide, and is physically in better shape than most men. I wouldn't try and takeover a task from her either.
On the women only classes, don't assume that all women find that to be the best route. My wife cannot understand why someone would want to learn in a segregated environment and just the add in Sailing Mag bothers her. So to say that women learn better from women as a truism. Not all women agree. Nor do all men want male instructors. Again, not always true. We tend to want the most qualified instructor that is able to teach to our learning styles, vs the one with matching genitalia.
Sorry for the long response but I just had to say that I am so glad that most of what I hear in this thread is really out of date. In other sports these attitudes died a while back on both sides of the argument. Sailing is just a bit stuck in time it seems to me compared to other activities.
Having said that; my daughter was told yesterday in kindergarden that Batman was for boys and why did she have a Batman lunchbox (her pick not ours). So these attitudes of pink and blue are still out there. We just have to do our best to make sure she understands that it is her choice to ignore those that will limit her future. Sometimes I am scared that we "miss" the old ways as a society and are trying to push people back into the rolls that were blurred in the 70-90s. I hope not.