Stereotypes dominate career choice

22nd September 2000 at 01:00
TEENAGERS' education and career choices are still suffering from strong social pressures to conform to sexual stereotypes, new Government research says.

In the classroom, girls continue to shy away from physics and IT lessons - traditionally dominated by boys. Boys remain much more likely to underachieve generally. Yet at the age of 16, 75 per cent of them choose to pursue a managerial or professional career compared with 25 per cent of girls.

At A-level, English, biology, history and languages are far more popular with girls, while maths, physics and technology are chosen more often by boys. Only 15 per cent of A-level computing students are female.

The report, Young People and Gender, published by the Government's Women's Unit, analyses research into how the eenage years are experienced differently by young men and women.

The study found that boys are four times more likely than girls to commit offences. Girls, who are far more concerned about body image and weight, are more likely to start smoking.

The study showed that, despite the hype, "girl power" has not permeated British society. It found that once they join the workforce, women are concentrated in the service industries where there is evidence that they are more likely to have part-time jobs and receive lower wages.

Tessa Jowell, minister for women and employment, said the research underlined the importance of gender on young people's behaviour, relationships and academic achievement. The Government was committed to reducing inequality, she said.

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