Girls need to feel the gravitational pull of A-level physics


Improving the gender balance in the subject is not rocket science – it’s simply a matter of informing female students about careers in the field, supplying role models and creating a can-do environment from an early age, writes Karen Marshall

Girls need to feel the pull of physics

At the small girls’ school where I am head of science, we’d noticed in recent years that a diminishing number of students wanted to study physics at A-level, or apply for physics and engineering-based subjects at university. We reached our lowest number three years ago, when we had no girls opting to take physics at all in the lower sixth, in contrast with classes of 12-15 girls studying chemistry and/or biology.

This under-representation is reflected nationally, with the Institute of Physics reporting that, in 2018, only 22.2 per cent of A-level physics entries were from girls.

But why? The ...

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