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May 3, 2018 / C H Thompson

Socialisation, gender and achievement

Need to narrow the gender gap in STEM subjects – science, technology, science and maths

  • In 2012, only 14 per cent of young women who entered university for the first time chose science-related fields of study, including engineering, manufacturing and construction.
  • By contrast, 39 per cent of young men who entered university that year chose to pursue one of those fields of study

Why the gap?

  • One reason for this gap is the perpetuation of gender stereotypes and attitudes
  • Educational aspirations are formed at a young age and gender stereotyping frequently takes place in subtle ways at home, in schools, and in wider society.
  • Another reason is, primary school teachers and secondary English and languages teachers are predominantly women,
  • while secondary Maths and science teachers are predominantly men.
  • A final reason is text books are often guilty of gender stereotyping – even today – of referring to nurses as a predominantly female and males as engineers
  • Even when organisations, in this example the EU, try to encourage girls into STEM subjects traditional stereotypes prevail
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