For the first time in history, more female students have studied A-level sciences than male.
A-level entries this year revealed that 50.3% of students studying A-levels in the sciences were female, compared to 49.7% male.
The shift in the gender split of students taking A-levels in biology, chemistry and physics at A-level has been hailed as a huge success by teachers, businesses, scientists and ministers.
The shift is being attributed to the continued efforts and campaigns to address the gender imbalance in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) sectors.
Dr Philip Wright, director general of the JCQ, said
It is particularly encouraging to see the rise in young women being inspired to take science A-levels. For the first time female entries have overtaken male entries in the sciences.
Jill Duffy, of the OCR exam board, said
As a proud mum of two daughters who are scientists, I think it’s absolutely brilliant to see this increase in females choosing to take A-level sciences
The most popular subject for females was biology, with 63% of entries coming from female students. There were also more female chemists proportionally. However, males still dominate in physics, accounting for 77% of all entries in England.
The overall numbers of students taking STEM subjects also increased. 21% of all A-level entries this year were from STEM subjects, up from 19.2% in 2018.
Gavin Williamson, the education secretary for England, said
I’m delighted to see more pupils choosing science-related subjects. This is encouraging particularly as we look to boost science in this country and the skills we’ll need in the future.