Does teacher gender amplify the gender imbalance when pupils pick Science subjects?


Does teacher gender amplify the gender imbalance when pupils pick Science subjects?

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Author 
Chloe O'Connor

Originating Organisation or Projects
EIS Action Research Grants 2019-20

 

Abstract

There is an obvious gender imbalance in Science, with concern over the lack of female representation in Physics, and more females than males studying Biology. This has been evident in research for many years and is a well-established pattern. Consequently, there have been many initiatives and documentation produced to rectify this issue. We know there are many influences on young people’s decisions in school, including peers, parents, stereotypes and personal interests. This study investigates the niche impact of teacher gender and whether this contributes to the gender imbalance. Data collection considered the number of pupils studying the STEM subjects, dual scientists and whether they followed recommendations. Consultations with staff and pupils gave revelations into unconscious bias, gender stereotypes and insecurities. It was evident that our female numbers in Physics are considerably lower than we would like. Although it cannot be concluded that teacher gender is the sole reason there is a gender imbalance, our department does fit the stereotype and there is a need to promote role models of the opposing genders.

How can I use this resource?

This study will inform future training, decisions, and research to further investigate and address the gender imbalance in Science subjects. The report includes some ideas for interventions and adapataitons which could be adopted locally to improve the representation of women and girls in Science subjects, which may also be applicable across other STEM subjects.






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