Malala, The Gender Gap, and Educational Inequality by Maelo Manning

By Maelo Manning

The gender gap which has been revealed by the A level results is worrying because it raises questions about the future of employment of females in our country. The divide that is created at A level will be carried into the workplace and will be an ongoing issue of gender inequality.

More girls are opting for English and creative subjects whereas boys are choosing maths and sciences, for example, boys took 4 out of 5 physics exams and two thirds of maths exams.

This gap panders to the gender stereotype which sets out boys as engineers and scientists and girls as experts in the humanities sphere.

One way of tackling this problem would be to change mind-sets in schools by breaking the stereotype that boys don’t read and by encouraging girls to pursue a career that involves mathematics or sciences.

However, the problem is that a gender related attitude starts at a young age and enforces the belief that boys should do the manual work and girls should sit down and write and draw. For example, girls are always expected to have neat and perfect handwriting whereas boys are expected to build Lego structures.

The situation needs to be reversed to demonstrate that boys can think creatively and girls can do the so-called ‘hard stuff’ which is science and maths.

It is ironic that in a year that Malala has been recognised as the icon of female education that a gender deficit is showing up with far reaching consequences.

Education is a way of taking advantage of equal opportunities and it isn’t there to enforce gender stereotypes.

Malala fought hard for a right to education and girls should see the world as their oyster.

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