Gender stereotypes are alive and kicking in the classroom, poll shows

Half of boys say that IT or computing is one of their favourite subjects, compared with just 26 per cent of girls, survey reveals

Will Hazell

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Gender divisions remain in the classroom with boys preferring maths and sciences and girls favouring arts and humanities, a survey shows.

Half of boys (49 per cent) aged 7 to 15 said that IT or computing was one of their favourite subjects at school, compared with 26 per cent of girls, the poll by analysts Mintel shows.

Some 47 per cent of boys said they liked PE and 41 per cent enjoyed maths, while 43 per cent of girls said that art was one of their favourite subjects, followed by English (32 per cent) and music (23 per cent).

Only 26 per cent of girls said IT was one of their top three favourite subjects, while less than a third (29 per cent) favoured maths and 30 per cent liked sport.

Just 19 per cent of boys said art was one of their favourite subjects, followed by English (16 per cent) and music (12 per cent).

Beyond the classroom, 44 per cent of children said that being a plumber, builder or electrician was "for boys", while just 5 per cent said this is was a job "for girls".

But being a doctor was equally likely to be associated with boys and girls.

Parents 'reinforce stereotypes'

Within the home, UK parents seem to be treating their boys and girls differently. In the survey, 65 per cent of parents with girls said they were confident in their daughter baking without any adult help or supervision – but this proportion dropped to just 46 per cent for those with boys.

Some 44 per cent of parents said they would be confident with their daughter's ability to cook a meal without supervision, falling to 37 per cent for those with sons. While 34 per cent said they would be confident in their daughter's ability to wash clothes, compared with 25 per cent of parents with boys.

Jack Duckett, senior consumer lifestyles analyst at Mintel, said: "While the UK has taken huge steps in terms of equality over the last 50 years, gender stereotypes remain apparent among today's children and teens, as shown by their continued belief that certain subjects and professions are more suited to one gender or the other.

Lightspeed surveyed 1,500 internet users aged 7 to 15 and 1,500 internet users aged over 16 who were parents of children aged 7 to 15 in March.

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Will Hazell

Will Hazell

Will Hazell is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @whazell

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