Tackling gender stereotypes
CHALFONTS Community College will be tackling gender stereotypes during a special day tomorrow (September 18) for Year 11 pupils.
Great People Day is part of a Department of Education project designed to explore, and tackle, certain standards at a ‘crucial’ stage in the youngsters lives.
For example, organisers hope to understand why there is a greater prevelance for males to choose maths and physics at school and for females to choose English and biology.
Dr Jessica Hamer, project officer on the improving gender balance project, explained that tomorrow the boys will be taking part in workshops run by a group called Great Men, exploring themes such as positive masculinity and consent and how to handle different situations.
The girls will be undertaking a networking day, which Dr Hamer described ‘as a bit like speed dating with professional women’, involving aspirations.
She said: “We have some fantastic women coming in, in different areas doing fantastic stuff.
“It’s all part of improving gender balance and exploring what works and doesn’t work.”
Dr Hamer works for the Institute of Physics but for two days in the week is based in school.
She said: “We put in place interventions so that girls chose physics. We have also been running workshops across year groups looking at gendered languge.” According to Dr Hamer, since she has been involved with the project last September the school has noticed a sharp increase in the number of girls choosing physics - last year only two girls chose the subject for their AS Level, but this year there are now six girls doing AS Level physics.
“I think we’re really starting to see the difference,” she said.
Dr Hamer said: “The knock on impact is that because we talk about gender and steretyping we hope there will be a postive impact on those other subjects as well.”
“It could be, let’s say, the next Jamie Oliver who’s choosing not to take food technology because he’s too embarrassed, or there could be the next Marie Curie, but they wouldn’t have that opportunity because they wouldn’t choose that subject in the first place,” she said.
“We have the lowest number of female engineers in the whole of Europe, so it’s something the government is very keen to explore how we can increase the numbers.”