Gender gap in UK degree subjects doubles in eight years – UCAS study

According to statistics published by the university admissions service UCAS and reported in The Guardian 5 January 2016, women now outnumber men in almost two-thirds of degree subjects, and the gender gap in British universities has almost doubled in size since 2007.

The biggest gap is in nursing, where women outnumber men by nine to one, with 22,285 more female students than male. Psychology has the second biggest gender divide, followed by social work, education and design. Women are also ahead in areas such as history, philosophy, English, law and biology.

Among the subjects with more men, the biggest gap is in computer science, which has 13,085 more male students than female, followed by mechanical engineering, sports science, electrical engineering and economics.

Caroline Jordan, GSA President, said more needed to be done to inform girls about the careers available in engineering and computing.

“What concerns me is the gap in the different types of sciences, with women focusing on the more obvious people-orientated science roles without considering engineering and computing opportunities, when we know that we need one million new engineers and technicians in the next five years.”

Mary Curnock Cook, the Ucas chief executive, said that despite the clear evidence of a growing gender gap, there had been a “deafening policy silence” on the issue.

Curnock Cook said: “Girls are doing better throughout primary, secondary and higher education than boys; poor, white boys are the most disadvantaged group in entry to higher education and the gap is getting bigger.

“But despite the clear evidence and despite the press coverage, there is a deafening policy silence on the issue. Has the women’s movement now become so normalised that we cannot conceive of needing to take positive action to secure equal education outcomes for boys?”


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