Gender and social inequalities in STEM subjects: Do institutional factors matter?
As part of the Moray House School of Education Cross-cluster research seminar series, Professor Cristina Iannelli and Dr Adriana Duta will present their paper 'Gender and social inequalities in STEM subjects: Do institutional factors matter?'
Date and time: Tuesday 28 March 2017, 12:30 – 2pm
All developed countries recognise that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) knowledge and skills are crucial for economic innovation and growth and that there is a need for more scientifically literate population. One way to increase the overall take-up of STEM subjects at school and university/college levels is to promote a larger engagement of underrepresented segments of the population, i.e. women and people from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds, in STEM fields. This may also improve gender and social equality in the labour market since graduates from STEM fields tend to have higher employment rates and earnings. Drawing from research that we have conducted within the AQMeN research centre we will discuss how national institutional features of the upper-secondary school system and HE entry shape gender and social class differences in STEM subjects. We will present evidence from School Leavers Surveys from three countries (Scotland, Ireland and Germany) and from the Scottish Longitudinal Study which show strong gender and social class inequalities in the take-up of STEM subjects. These inequalities at school affect young people’s chance of entering higher education and STEM fields of study. Our results show that whether or not pupils study STEM subjects in upper-secondary school plays a more important role in explaining the existing gender inequalities in entering STEM fields in Scotland than in Ireland and Germany. The policy implications of our findings will be discussed.