From education to employment

Girls power up as the next generation of scientists

This week’s GCSE results have shown further encouraging signs that girls are performing well in the sciences and outperforming boys this year in physics, chemistry and biology. Dr Jo Foster, Director of IRIS – the Institute for Research in Schools (@ResearchInSch) – argues we mustn’t become complacent or congratulate ourselves too much just yet.

Reacting to the results, she argues:

“Even though we are seeing increases in the numbers of girls choosing STEM subjects at A-Level, there are still considerably fewer girls studying physics than boys.

“Despite years of targeted intervention to encourage women into STEM careers, the gender difference within the STEM workforce remains consistent – at just under 30% – across age groups. 

“Now is the time to capitalise and build upon this year’s good news. We must ensure that those same girls who have succeeded so well in their science studies are supported and inspired to go on to become the next generation of scientists.

“Real science, the science that led to the development of the Covid-19 vaccinations, is a creative and exciting endeavour. For girls, experiencing real science in action, and working with women in a research career as part of a project is life changing.

“This moment is a great time to reflect on how far we have come, and to ensure that the momentum generated by this year’s results is carried forward into subsequent years. Let’s celebrate this positive news and learn from what works for girls.”

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