Is biology a feminised subject? And is that a bad thing? Watch

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Is biology feminised? And is that a bad thing?

Out of all the STEM subjects, there is a perception that biology is the most feminised/most female friendly- however, is this true? And is this a bad thing?

Some stats for you:

In 2014, Roughly equal percentages of girls and boys are entered for GCSE Sciences and Maths. Girls outperform boys at A*-C in all STEM subjects except maths, where their performance is 1% lower.

Despite this, biology is the only A-level subject where there are more girls entered for exams than boys (59% of biology entrants were female). Chemistry was roughly equal- with 48% of students being female. In maths, 39% of students were female, and in physics it was only 21%.


In 2016, 79% of schools entered two or more girls for Biology A-level- whereas only 68% entered two or more boys. Meanwhile, 13% of schools entered no girls at all and 19% entered no boys.

For Chemistry A-level, the numbers are very roughly equal again (all within 1% of each other).

For Maths A-level, there is a slight gender balance towards boys- 75% of schools entering 2 or more girls vs 84% entering 2 or more boys, and 14% of schools entering no girls, vs 9% of schools entering no boys.

In Physics A-level, again we find the biggest gender imbalance. Only 32% of schools entered 2 or more girls with 44% entering none at all, while the figures for boys are 72% and 17% respectively.


At undergrad level, things get even more split:

In 2014, women dominated Veterinary Science degrees (78%) and allied medical professional degrees (e.g. nursing, physiotherapy, radiotherapy and so on) (82%), while men dominated Engineering (86%) and Computer Science (83%).


There is perhaps a perception/stereotype at work here that women are more suited to "caring" professions, while men are more suited to the "hard" sciences and engineering.

Why do you think this is? Do you think biology is seen as a more female friendly science? Or is it more that there is a particular reason girls/woman are reluctant to study physics/engineering subjects? Are you put off studying any subjects because of the gender balance in the classroom?

And if biology is a more “feminised” subject, do you think this is a problem?
Last edited by SarcAndSpark; 4 months ago

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