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29 October 2018

Combating gender stereotyping in schools

King’s College London is working to tackle gender stereotyping in schools .


King’s College London is working with the Institute of Physics, UCL Institute of Education and University Council of Modern Languages to tackle gender stereotyping in schools through the Gender Action schools award programme, announced today at the Greater London Authority (GLA)’s Equal Play event.

The gender imbalance in subject choices is one example of this problem in wider society. Gender Action is an award programme which promotes and encourages a whole school approach to challenging these stereotypes. It puts gender equality at the heart of policy and practice, recognising those striving to ensure there are no limits on young people reaching their full potential.

The programme has a set of principles at its core which act as focus areas for individuals and groups to work on to make lasting and positive changes to structures and mindsets. Gender Action has turned more than a decade’s worth of combined research and a robust evidence base into a tangible support framework for schools.

Ahead of a national rollout in 2020, support from the GLA as part of the Mayor of London’s #behindeverygreatcity campaign has enabled Gender Action to undertake a Phase 1 roll-out with London schools.

Tiered recognition levels provide schools with a tool to measure progress while putting in place systems, structures and behaviours that allow students to be truly able to make subject choices free from gender stereotypical lines. Schools can work towards recognition as a Supporter, Innovator, Champion or Beacon.

Baroness Deborah Bull, Vice President & Vice Principal (London) said: "Gender Action is an unique opportunity for King’s, our partners, and universities across London to work with local schools to tackle the gender stereotypes that too often limit young people’s horizons and prevent them from pursuing careers that might be perceived as unexpected or out of the ordinary. Young people should never be discouraged from choosing one subject over another because of their gender and I hope that this important new campaign inspires a new generation of physicists, engineers, playwrights and linguists who might otherwise have turned their back on the subjects they enjoy and are passionate about.”

Professor Peter Main, Chair of Equality & Diversity Committee, Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences said: “The breadth of subjects taught at King’s College London means that our commitment to gender balance spans the full range of the school curriculum. This initiative aims to transform the school environment so that we can educate young people to fulfil their potential, regardless of gender. I look forward to seeing our staff and students make a difference in the community by working with local schools to break down gender stereotyping, creating a model for how schools and higher education institutions can work towards solving this problem together.”