Female College Students Opening Exam Results, A-Level, GCSE

GCSE results day brings postive news for girls in STEM, as the science gender gap is closing fast.

Statistics released today show that the number of girls taking key STEM subjects has increased this year, including Physics, Biology and Chemistry.  The gender gap is closing fast, with more girls comprising over half (50.27 per cent) of the total number of students taking the three key science exams.

Figures also show that while there was a decrease in the number of girls taking Maths, there was an increase in girls taking the more rigorous Further Maths exam.

However, there is more work to be done. The number of girls taking Computing GCSE has fallen for the second year in a row, with the gender gap increasing – the proportion of girls taking Computing has fallen to 20.7 per cent in 2021 from 21.56 per cent in 2020. A silver lining is that girls did outperform boys in the top two grade bands 9-7/A and 6-4(C).

Agata Nowakowska, SkillsoftSpeaking about the latest figures, Agata Nowakowska, Area Vice President EMEA, Skillsoft said, “GCSE results day is the pinnacle event on the school calendar.”

“This year, with lockdowns, homeschooling and the scrapping of exams, it’s been a tumultuous time – one that many students will not soon forget.”

“Following on from the A-Level results earlier in the week, it’s disappointing to see that the number of girls taking GCSE Computing and Engineering has decreased this year.”
“There are so many programmes aimed at getting girls interested in these areas, but we need to go further to challenge and eradicate the old fashioned views that are clearly still very much ingrained in the public consciousness.”

“It’s no coincidence that while most girls show some interest in STEM subjects at 10 or 11 years of age, this tends to wane by age 15.”

“Schools must continue to find new ways to keep girls engaged in STEM subjects, by providing the opportunity to build websites, learn to code or use robotic toys.”

“By showcasing female role models, organising technology-related events and working with schools to find new ways to inspire students, businesses can also continue to encourage involvement.”

“After all, female uptake in STEM has the duplicitous advantage of closing the gender and skills gaps, what’s not to lose.”

The results follow a second year of teacher-assessed results, after exams were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students were assessed only on what they had been taught and were assessed on multiple pieces of work, giving them their best possible chance to show what they can do.

Students receiving results will have the opportunity to move on to a range of high-quality options. This is the second year that young people can move on to study T Levels, with seven new subject choices available from September, including Healthcare, Science and Onsite Construction.

Speaking on GCSE results day, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “Students should feel proud of their achievements and will now be looking forward to taking their next steps.”

“I am also hugely grateful to teachers and school leaders for their hard work to ensure students get the grades they deserve and need to progress to the next stage of their lives.”

“There have never been so many great options available for young people, whether that’s going on to study A levels, our pioneering T Levels, starting an apprenticeship or a traineeship.”

“Whatever option young people choose, they can do so with the confidence it will give them the skills and knowledge to get on in life.”

Getting girls into STEM


Below are just a few of the campaign groups encouraging and supporting girls and women in STEM and tech.

Next Tech Girls

Next Tech Girls is an initiative brought to you by Empiric with an aim of sustainability and strategically increasing the number of women in technology by securing meaningful tech work experience for girls.

1.46 Million people are employed within the technology sector in the UK and only 17% of them are women. We want to help change this.

Companies are increasingly recognising the value of diversity, leading to tactical solutions of hiring more women. This often results in merely moving existing talent around, shifting the problem from one company to another and having no long term impact.

There is a need and opportunity for strategic and early intervention.

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The Tech She Can Charter

The Tech She Can Charter is a commitment by organisations to work together to increase the number of women working in technology roles in the UK. It aims to tackle the root cause of the problem at a societal level by inspiring and educating young girls and women to get into tech careers and sharing best practice across the organisations involved.

As a group we know this is an important problem to solve as technology is set to influence every aspect of our lives. We need to ensure that the people creating our technology solutions are representative of the population and that females have an equal opportunity to take part in the jobs of the future.

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Step into STEM

Step into STEM is an award-winning mentoring and work experience programme delivered by Girls Talk London and funded by O2, BT, Vodafone & Ericsson. This programme provides individual mentors to females aged 16-18 who study a STEM subject and want to work in technology. Mentees on the programme attend a two-day Tech Summit in the summer which gives them access to talks by Senior executives, demos on the latest products and technology such as Virtual reality and Robotics plus a chance to meet all graduate recruitment and work experience teams across all businesses. To date 150 girls have been mentored via this programme.

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Stemettes

Stemettes is an award-winning social enterprise working across the UK & Ireland and beyond to inspire and support young women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers (known collectively as STEM).

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Code First: Girls

Code First: Girls works with companies and with men and women directly, to help increase the number of women in tech.

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Girls Code Too

Girls Code Too UK is an organisation hoping to encourage young girls and students who identify as female to pursue tech careers through exposure to tech resources and role models. To do this we are providing workshop tutorials, materials, advice and support for volunteers to use to host their own workshops at local schools and community clubs in order to reach girls all over the UK (and beyond).

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