The GCSE results of females in Maths and STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) have demonstrated to us that they are just as capable as their male counterparts of going on to study these subjects at A-level.
However, this isn't the case. A report by the Institute of Physics showed that between 2010 and 2012, two thirds of pupils taking A-level maths were male. Four times more boys than girls studied physics. This gender gap has been attributed to issues such as girls confidence - as education and child care minister Liz Truss has claimed.
The young women and girls we have worked with have shown us that they are bright, engaging, and of independent thought; so we don't believe a lack on confidence to tackle 'macho' STEM subjects to be the cause. However, research from the Girls’ Schools Association (which represents girls' only schools) shows that girls are 75 per cent more likely to take maths and two and a half times as likely to take physics than at mixed schools.
What do these findings suggest? The Girls Association president, Hilary French attributes this to the fact that “in a girls’ school, the pressure to opt for the subjects which are perceived as more ‘feminine’ just doesn’t exist and so the potentially talented female scientists and mathematicians are able to pursue their interests and achieve their full potential.”
When subjects are not percieved as 'male' or 'female', girls are succeeding, not shying away from them. This could be linked to the adult enagament; girls are encouraged to pursue all fields in the girls only schools. There is no domain which girls are geared more towards, or area which doesn't belong to them.
Forbes recently published an article on the importance of telling girls Maths is cool, in a brief series of articles about women in technology to coincide with International Women's Day.
According to research published by the Girl Scouts of the USA, lots of girls enjoy Maths and STEM subjects. However this does not translate into higher education and career choices ;
• Women account for only 20% of the Bachelor’s degrees in engineering, computer science, and physics.
• Only 25% of positions in STEM careers are held by women.
So what is the solution? Cynthia Stoddard, CIO at NetApp explains that ''Girls are very interested in STEM. That interest needs to be nurtured and encouraged when they’re young. One way is by making women in STEM careers into role models and mentors. It’s incumbent on those of us in STEM careers to be active as role models and mentors for those girls who love math, but may be afraid to show it. Tell them: “You can study math.” ''
Read the full Forbes article here http://www.forbes.com/sites/netapp/2014/03/08/math-is-cool/
Rap through radius revision; demo's and free trials of our GCSE Maths revision available here http://learnthrumusic.co.uk/subjects/#subject-2
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