Closing Doors: Schools Criticised for Subject Gender Bias

According to a report entitled ‘Closing Doors’ released on Monday by the Institute of Physics (IoP), schools are not doing enough to counter gender stereotypes and in fact, some schools are reinforcing stereotypes by narrowing student’s subject choices.

For example, the report highlights statistics showing that boys are less likely to take stereotypically ‘girls’ subjects such as English or Psychology, whereas girls are not opting to take Physics or Maths, identified as ‘boys’ subjects.

More worryingly, the report said that almost half (49%) of state-funded mixed schools in England are making the gender bias worse by supporting these stereotypes. Single sex schools were found to be significantly better at countering gender imbalances in subjects.

The IoP is calling on schools to address the issue to avoid inadvertently limiting pupils’ options. We need to make sure that our national education system does not perpetuate these gender imbalances and deter students from pursuing their dreams, irrespective of gender.