Gender Inequalities in Education Persist : EC Report

“Despite progress in recent years, gender differences and inequalities persist in education in terms of subject preferences and performance, and in cultural aspects of the education and training experience.

This is a key message from a new independent expert report on gender and education issued by the European Commission. The authors also point out that gender differences in education are closely interlinked with other factors such as social class, ethnicity and minority status and call on policy-makers to take this into account.

Key findings

Researchers point out that social class, ethnicity and minority status all contribute to a complex picture from which it is difficult to isolate gender differences and inequalities in educational performance. Consequently, they argue, policies should not treat women and men, girls and boys, as homogenous groups in policy terms.

Reading: The research reveals that reading attitudes and behaviour are determined to a great degree by gender. Evidence suggests that it is boys from working class backgrounds in all ethnic groups and cultures who are the most likely to have literacy difficulties and to leave school early.

Fields of academic study:
The report reveals that gender continues to be a factor in certain fields of academic study, with men dominating science, construction and engineering, and women dominating the arts, humanities and care-related disciplines.

Role of parents and peers: The research shows that parents and peers are both powerful players in the gender game; they can and do reinforce gender-stereotypical expectations and behaviour. It also emerged that the attitudes of teachers and teacher educators are crucial in facilitating change.

Academic streaming:
The report demonstrates that countries with highly selective academic streaming can be disadvantageous to girls and women in mathematics and science, and to boys in that they may be disproportionately placed in lower streams.”

To read the full Report, please click here

For the Press Release, please click

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