Guide helps to tackle school gender imbalances

Schools should appoint “gender champions” to tackle gender stereotyping and break-down the barriers that deter girls from choosing STEM subjects and boys from selecting modern foreign languages.

This is just one of the recommendations made in a new good practice guide published by the Institute of Physics (IOP) to help counter gender stereotyping in schools.

The guide, Opening Doors, was launched last month at a conference aimed at finding out what social science, psychology and neuroscience can teach us about overcoming the barriers to removing gender bias.

As well as the suggestion that schools should appoint gender champions in their leadership teams, the guide advises schools to ensure that sexist language is as unacceptable as racist and homophobic language and to present all subjects equally to students in terms of relative difficulty. It also offers some real-life examples of strategies used by schools to counter gender stereotyping.

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