Reading Time: 6 Minutes
From the Transitions to Work program.
Published: June 17, 2022
“Girls do like hard maths.”
Hi, it’s Heather this week and I was shocked to hear this is a statement from the childrens commissioner for England, released today (June 2022). It is insane that in 2022 this is still occurring, although what is even more shocking is that this was a response after social mobility head said girls would ‘rather not’ do hard maths.
There is a huge gender divide when it comes to subjects such as A-level maths and physics which is creating a big, and important, debate about why this may be.
Could it be because this is still engraved in our societal roles and subconsciously we are still bringing up the younger generations to align with ‘gender norms’ (Or what has been the ‘norm’ for many years)? Could it be that girls are intimidated at the thought of entering a made-dominated classroom, often these subjects being taught by male teachers also? Or is it due to lack of diverse role models?
This statement is about male vs female but in general, a lot of curriculum covers the teaching of pioneers of sciences and maths, however the majority of these (due to society at the times of these discoveries) are white males. A standard science curriculum will cover the discoveries of Einstein, Newton, Faraday, Darwin, Archimedes, and Galilei, which yes, there’s no denying we would be nowhere without these important, historic figures who have paved the way for modern science. But that’s the exact issue, they are historic figures and we should be progressing along with modern science. By all means keep the fundamentals, but there must be room to add a more diverse syllabus to keep inspiring a wider group of people and to show people that you don’t have to be a white male to make a great scientific discovery.
I found a few scientists of importance from a more diverse background so you can read about what they did here, but I urge you to research more yourself and discover who else is out there.
- Gladys West
A Mathematician who used her mathematical and programming knowledge to invest an accurate model of the Earth which was used as the foundation to create GPS systems.
- Percy Lavon Julian
Made pain relief affordable and when he eventually found a company who would hire him (because of his skin colour) he worked there for 17 years and was awarded over 100 chemical patents, including a fire-retardant foam which was used widely during World War 2. He also helped made birth control pills more affordable to mass-produce.
- Dorothy Hodgkin
Discovered the structure of insulin. In 1964 Dorothy won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, being only the third woman to have won a Nobel Prize for Chemsitry (after Marie Curie and her daughter Irene Joliot-Curie) and is currently still the only British woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize in any of the sciences.
– Mae Carol Jemison
Became the first African American woman to travel to space when she went into orbit on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in September 1992.
- Nina Tandon
A biomedical engineer who is the founder of a company which grows bones for skeletal reconstruction. Practitioners will be able to repair bone defects in people by using the patient’s stem cells to grow new, healthy bones. The bone can also grow, which means if children with bone defects underwent this procedure their body can develop as usual.
A lot of the modern day scientists I found when researching have done TED Talks on their topics of research. If you don’t fancy reading too much I recommend giving a few of these videos a watch or asking one of your teachers to find some good ones for the class sometime. It is amazing what is happening in science and what has been done by the people you don’t often hear about. Give it a research sometime.
We would love to hear your thoughts on why you think this massive gender gap skill exists. Leave a comment or start a conversation with us across our social medias (Instagram: @AchievementAcademyGROUP, Twitter: @AcademyGROUPva)
Thank you for reading, enjoy your weekend.
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