Women selecting low-paid career options over STEM

Published: 13 Apr 2018 By Matt Cook

Whilst girls are generally outperforming boys in ‘male-dominated’ subjects in Scottish schools, a significant number are moving to qualifications that are linked to lower-paid jobs. The Scottish Government ‘Learner Journey’ report suggests that many girls are avoiding STEM subjects, despite being academically successful in this area. The report highlights that only 8% of girls choose the subject of engineering science. In contrast, over 95% of the entries for childcare and development are girls.

Females in the oil and gas industryFemales in the oil and gas industry


The report has now prompted calls for a considerable focus for females to have more role modes within STEM (science, technology, education, and maths). Led by Young Women's Movement of Scotland (YWCA), girls generally seem to be avoiding STEM subjects as they progress through education. YWCA has stressed that girls should feel able to study any subject available, but at present, there seems to be a stage where girls feel less comfortable with pursuing STEM subjects. YWCA also highlight that this is not related to ability, with many high STEM achievers being women. There is, however, a lack of acknowledgment of women in STEM and the success women have achieved within this area.


Within Scottish schools, over 55% of entries to higher and advanced higher levels at secondary schools are from girls, with girls statistically achieving higher grades than boys in STEM subjects. For example, the number of females studying computing science is low, but those who do study this subject outperform the male students.Unfortunately, culture and media have displayed these subjects as a male-dominated field, something that urgently needs to be rectified.

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