Higher entrants in physics by gender 2010-2016

What does this data show?

Between 2010 and 2016, the number of female Higher physics entrants has stayed roughly the same – 2474 in 2010 and 2487 in 2016. There has also been no real change in the proportion of female entrants – 27.4% in 2010 and 27.2% in 2016. However, this figure is the lowest proportion of female entrants since 2008 and the third lowest since 1986. The number and proportion of female entrants to physics Higher rose briefly in the intervening years, hitting a 12-year high of 29.1% in 2013, but has since fallen.

The proportion of female entrants to physics higher hasn’t changed significantly since 2002, ranging from 29.1% to 27.1%, with an average proportion of 28.1%. This represents a slight fall from the previous 15-year period from 1987 – 2000 where the average proportion of female entrants was 29.4%.

The proportion of female entrants for all Higher subjects in 2016 was 55.3% and averaged 55.2% between 2001 and 2016.

Raw data


In 2016, the proportion of female entrants to biology was 66.1%, in chemistry 50.7% and in maths 47.6%. All three subjects have had consistently higher proportions of female entrants than physics. However, while biology, like physics has seen an overall fall in the proportion of female entrants when comparing 2002-2016 to the previous 15-year period (while maintaining large majority of female entrants), in chemistry and mathematics the proportion of female entrants has risen – in chemistry from 47.5% in the period 1987-2001 to 49.9% in the period 2002-2016 and in maths from 46.4% to 47.6% between the same periods. Aside from biology, chemistry and maths have, like physics, had relatively stable year-on-year proportions of female entrants since 2002, chemistry ranging from 50.7% to 48.8% and maths from 48.7% to 44.6%.

Raw data