The Journal Opinion: We must work harder to encourage girls to study maths and science

The Journal's opinion column for Friday, August 30 2014, in which we ask why so few girls choose to study maths and science beyond GCSE

Students at Tanfield School, open up there GCSE results, left to right, Kathryn Alexander, Chelsey Hart and Rebecca Harrison
Students at Tanfield School, open up there GCSE results, left to right, Kathryn Alexander, Chelsey Hart and Rebecca Harrison

So why do so few girls choose to study maths at A-level? Why do so many drop science as soon as they can? Why do they eschew engineering degrees?

The girls who were keen and talented at maths and science at the age of 11 or 13 are somehow drifting away to other subjects when they get to 16 and 18.

They may well make great successes of those other subjects. But the loss to maths and science of their skill and brains is not one we can lightly dismiss.

As Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah – who holds a degree in electrical engineering – has said, the problem is cultural and its roots go deep.

Put simply, girls are not taking on these important subjects because somehow they or their parents do not think they are good enough.

The message that they ARE good enough is one that needs to be loud and clear.

We haven’t succeeded in getting that message over yet. We must do so.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer