Bucking the Physics gender gap

Posted on May 23, 2018


On Thursday 17 May 2018, the BBC reported on the worrying lack of girls studying A-level Physics with an article entitled “How Physics gender gap starts in the classroom”. The article highlighted that in 2016 just 1.9% of girls chose A-level Physics and were outnumbered with four boys choosing Physics for every one girl. It is very sad that despite “no evidence to suggest any intrinsic differences in ability or interest to explain why girls and boys choose technical subjects differently” (IOP President, Professor Dame Julia Higgins) gender stereotypes continue to influence how girls choose their A-level options.

Fortunately, the picture is very different at The Maynard and no such stereotypes exist. Currently, 20 of our Sixth Form girls are studying A-level Physics, making it one of the most popular subjects in the school. Through an extensive programme of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) enrichment our students are well aware that studying A-level Physics opens doors for many future careers.

Moreover, our students do exceptionally well in the subject and, in the last two years, 15 out of 16 students (94%) have achieved A or A* grades at A-level. Equally, we are delighted that so many of our students are choosing Physics or STEM based subjects at university. This is highlighted by 25% of our Sixth Form leavers in 2017 being accepted to read STEM subjects at Russell Group universities.