Fewer Girls Studying STEM Subjects At A-Level

There has been a decline in the number of girls choosing to study STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – at A-Level, which could leave them at a disadvantage in the future.

According to data from the Joint Council for Qualifications, females learning these topics dropped by 0.8 per cent this year, with many girls favouring arts and languages, such as history and German, over the technical subjects.

Indeed, while 5,633 boys took Computing, only 609 chose to study it after GCSE level.

While many young women may not think IT is important at that age, Helen Wollaston, chief executive of the Wise Campaign to encourage more girls to study STEM, says it could mean they lose out on jobs when they begin their careers.

“Girls will be at a disadvantage in the labour market if we don’t bust that myth that computing is a male subject,” Ms Wollaston states.

Dave Coplin, chief envisioning officer for Microsoft UK, adds that certain aspects of IT, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and quantum computer will have a huge impact on work in the future.

“For the UK to succeed in an increasingly competitive world economy, we need to be drawing on the skills, insights and perspectives of our whole population – not just half of it,” Mr Coplin notes.

Even if girls choose not to take Computing to further education, they can do independent courses to brush up on their skills, including Microsoft Office 365 or Sharepoint 2013 strategy training. This would look impressive on their CV and make them stand out from other candidates when going for a job.

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