Posted on May 8, 2017 by staff

Girls ‘no longer put off studying STEM subjects’


Schools have not deliberately put girls off studying technology subjects for years, a new study has shown.

The Oxford Open Learning Trust commissioned a YouGov survey of 2,000 adults as it launched its career change advice tool, the Profession Picker, focused on careers advice and career pathways.

It found that only three per cent of young women aged 18-24 felt pushed towards gender-stereotypical subjects at school.

There have been moves in the last decade to encourage more girls to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.

A recent study conducted by Microsoft found that girls in the UK become interested in STEM subjects just before the age of 11 and that secondary school years were important in deciding if she will work in a STEM-focused industry.

Dr Nick Smith, courses director and founder of Oxford Open Learning Trust, said: “Schools have come a long way in the last decade in recognising equality between male and female students when it comes to picking the most appropriate subjects for their career.”

However the study also found that almost a fifth (17 per cent) of women aged 18-24 felt they chose their career path at too young an age.

And more than a third of women aged 18-34 (35 per cent) said that the education and training they’d received to date has not prepared them for their current career.

“It is clear that many young women feel they are making decisions about their career path too young and this is resulting in many changing their minds during their mid-twenties,” said Dr Smith.

The poll found that almost two-thirds of female workers in Britain (65 per cent) would consider training or retraining for a new career.

He continued: “For those who feel that they have been trapped into a certain career path due to making important choices too young, it is never too late to train again.

“We created the Profession Picker tool to help those thinking of a career change.

“Each year, we serve learners that might need an extra qualification such as GCSE or A-Level in order to get their desired job and start a new career.”