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Research finds 60% of girls believe they can't do maths & science

18 Sep 2015

A new study has revealed that more must be done by teachers and parents to encourage girls to take maths and sciences if initiatives to close the gender gap in STEM industries are to succeed.

Research, conducted by Accenture, found that 60% of girls aged 12 surveyed in the UK and Ireland felt that mathematics and science were “too difficult” to learn and better suited to boys because of their brains, hobbies and personalities.  

Parents and teachers were rated by young girls as their biggest influencers, however 42% of parents and 51% of teachers surveyed believed the cultural perception that STEM subjects are not suitable for girls. Lack of awareness of career opportunities and fewer high profile female role models in maths and science were also highlighted as problems for young girls.

“While getting girls enthused about subjects like technology or engineering must start at home, encouragement needs to continue in early education, such as nursery and primary school, so that girls don’t conclude at a young age that maths and science are too difficult”, explained Emma McGuigan, managing director for Accenture Technology in the UK & Ireland.

Research has shown that women are often less confident about maths and the myth that women can’t do maths worsens inequality. National Numeracy recognises that women and girls are often less confident with maths and is committed to changing this perception, through our work to improve maths in schools, our parental engagement project the Family Maths Toolkit and with the National Numeracy Challenge.

Read the research in full