I try not to jump onto here and rant about the latest headline, it’s often dodgy information presented in a sensationalist way. I think this story is a good example of that. Apparently there are no girls studying A level physics, unless you are in a girls’ school.
The thing I want to mention is subjects and gender bias, rather than if this story is true or not. In my experience it’s not true, I see plenty of girls doing science subjects wherever I go, maybe not enough, but that’s another matter.
What is true though, is that there are many subjects that show gender bias. I went to a conference on it back in 1996 and I don’t see much change since then. Not enough girls do technology subjects, not enough boys do arts subjects, not enough girls do engineering, not enough boys do healthcare, travel and tourism etc. Despite work and effort though it seems to be a strightforward issue. So how do you get around it?
Maybe its the subject that is wrong. Perhaps purist approaches to subjects bring with them a long established and deep settled gender bias. We can do lots of work on it and try to resolve it, but it doesn’t simply go away for ever. Perhaps if the subject was recast in something that was relevant across the genders the student intake would be equal. Perhaps subjects have had their day and we should be looking at new designations of curriculum, such as problem solving, materials technology, wearable electronics, and the like which bring currency and purpose and newness. That’s a lot of “perhaps”… I know.
But nevertheless, maybe subjects have had their day.