Gender balance

The Institute is working to understand and address the issue of girls’ under-representation in physics post-16.

Girls in physics

For more than 25 years, there has been very little change in the proportion of girls studying physics post-16. Only around 20% of students progressing on to A-level have been girls, despite similar success between the genders in previous qualifications in physics and science. That number is only slightly higher in Scotland, where around 30% of the students that progress onto Higher physics, are female.

We are committed to ensuring that all students have a positive experience of physics. The comparatively low numbers of girls progressing to post-16 qualifications and beyond suggests that, in many cases, girls are having a less positive experience than boys. Social and cultural influences may also discourage girls from continuing with physics.

The Institute has published a number of reports investigating the situation, and produced a suite of resources for teachers. We are also running a number of projects aimed at increasing the number of girls that go on to take physics.

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