Physics Leaving Certificate entrants by gender 2001-2017

What does this data show?

The number of female entrants taking Leaving Certificate physics in 2017 is 1979; a rise of 111 students since 2016 and the highest number of female entries since 2005. The number of female entrants has largely followed the trend of male entrants, falling almost every year between 2003 and 2014, but rising between 2013 and 2017 by 458 students.

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However, female entrants in physics 2017 represent just 26.1% of all physics entrants, and this proportion has seen very little change since 2001. The proportion of female entrants has fluctuated by just 2.7 percentage points between 2001 and 2016 – from a high of 26.4% in 2006 to a low of 23.6% in 2013 - with an average proportion of 25%.
In comparable STEM subjects, the proportion of female entrants has rarely dipped below 50% since 2001 (aside from maths entrants in a number of years since 2010). Female entrants thus make up the majority in these subjects.

At the same time, the disparity between the genders is much smaller for these subjects than in physics. In maths there has been almost parity in the number of entrants between the genders, reflecting the cohort as a whole, with the average proportion of female entrants between 2001 and 2017 being 50.8%. Female entrants make up a slightly greater proportion of chemistry entrants, an average of between 54.9% 2001 and 2017 with female students also comprising 54.9% of 2017 entrants.

Although female entrants have made up far higher proportions of biology entrants since 2001 – an average of 64.2%, there has been a gradual downwards trend as higher numbers of male entrants take the subject. Female entrants to Leaving Certificate biology made up 67.8% of entrants in 2001, and make up 60.1% of entrants in 2017.

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