'Misconceptions around girls and STEM must stop'

The UK’s School Standards Minister has called on everyone to help dispel the misconceptions some girls have about Science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

New data published by the Department of Education shows school girls in England are substantially less likely than boys to consider taking STEM subjects at A Level.

The number of girls taking STEM A Levels has increased by 26 per cent since 2010, but research shows 15-year-old boys are more likely than girls to see STEM subjects as being useful when it comes to getting a job.

Since 2010, the number of women accepted onto full-time STEM undergraduate courses has increased by 25 per cent, and women accounted for 54 per cent of UK STEM postgraduates.

“There is growing demand for STEM skills, particularly for sectors such as engineering, construction and manufacturing, and it’s essential that gender is no barrier to ensuring that all young people have the knowledge and skills to succeed in our outward looking and dynamic economy,” said School Standards Minister Nick Gibb.

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“This research, however, shows that certain misconceptions are still prevalent, and we all have a part to play, including parents and teachers, to dispel misconceptions about STEM subjects and help encourage our scientists of future generations.

“We’ve made considerable progress in increasing girls’ participation in STEM subjects since 2010, with the proportion of girls taking STEM A Levels increasing by a quarter.”

Home Office research shows 60 per cent the roles on its shortage list are in the STEM sector while the 2017 Employer Skills Survey found that there is significant demand for skilled and qualified professionals in IT and engineering, as well as a need for complex numerical and statistical skills.