- Professor of Health Policy Peter Bradshaw on why the current four hour A&E waiting target is nothing but an unwanted distraction and how overloading managers with performance targets can in fact be counterproductive.
- Dr Alison Rodriguez’s research concerns vulnerable patient groups with specialist interests in palliative care, specifically paediatric palliative care and dementia care. Here she comments on the current financial crisis with regards to home care in the UK and how ‘out of the box’ thinking is needed in order to meet the increasing community care demand.
- Sue Kilcoyne, Research Professor of the School of Applied Sciences, comments on the gender stereotyping of subjects at school, in particular science and maths
Why don’t more girls study science and maths?
The question of “Why don’t more girls study science and maths?” is raised on a regular basis in one form or another. Not surprisingly the answers are many and varied, ranging from gender stereotyping, for example: “maths and physics are “boys’ subjects” and “arts and humanities are for girls”, through to suggestions that girls (and women) prefer careers involving human interaction and are therefore more likely to study biology and move into medicine. The most recent suggestion, from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) appears to identify that the problem is actually one of confidence, with a recent survey showing:
“Girls still lack confidence in pursuing high-paid careers in science and technology, even when their school results are as good or better than boys”,
Such an outcome is not completely surprising. It is generally accepted that the academic environment plays a large part in developing girls’ self-confidence in science and maths. This is something that the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) is particularly aware of.
Alun Jones, President of the GSA has said:
“We teach high performing girls and in our experience being taught in a predominantly all girls environment can increase girls’ self confidence in both maths and science. We see this in the sheer numbers of girls in our schools who choose to pursue maths and science at A Level and at university.”
Surveys have shown that girls at GSA schools are 75% more likely to take Maths A-level; 70% more likely to take Chemistry; 2.5 times as likely to take Physics (compared to all girls in England); and 55% take at least one STEM subject at A Level. These results certainly suggest that the female focussed environment provided by the GSA schools has a positive effect in STEM recruitment.
In reality there is likely to be some truth in all of the proposed theories of why so few girls are attracted to science and maths at school, at university or as a career. The universal truth is that we must ensure that girls and young women are given an equal opportunity to pursue STEM subjects by providing an appropriate supportive environment for them. Only in this way will we ensure that female talent is retained and developed to its full potential for the benefit of the whole of society.
Read the full story on the BBC News website.
- Dr David Warnock-Smith is a Lecturer for the Department of Logistics Operations and Hospitality Management. Here he comments on the flight delay ruling from a Liverpool County Court judge regarding Jet2, which has in turn, opened the way for compensation payments to be paid to all passengers in the EU who have experienced lengthy flight delays.