There was an article kicking around on facebook a few weeks ago about Tesco’s insistence that chemistry, electronics, physics and other science-y toys were “boys’ toys”. Because, obviously, girls aren’t interested in science and are also rubbish at it.
Well, actually, this is crap.
Younger girls may be put off science by the fact that all the science-based toys are in the boys’ section, so if they were to get one their peers could go down the “Ew, you’re playing with boys’ stuff” route. Peer pressure has a hell of an effect when you’re in primary school or early secondary.
I was a bit annoyed when I read the original story – and still am, in honesty – but put it to the back of my mind. Until today.
We just had our school prize day. Bear in mind I work at a “posh” school where the kids really are pushed, by staff and parents. As such, we’ve got quite the number who are expected to become doctors, vets and the like. In other words, this is a school where the gender thing is thrown out the window in exchange for the “success in whatever field” thing. A level playing-field as far as subject matter goes.
Here are some figures:
- Number of science prizes up for grabs (Bio, Chem, Phys & Computing): 16
- Number won by males: 9
- Number won by females: 7
- Highest score in the SQA 2012 Higher Physics exam (nationwide): Female
- Highest score in the SQA 2012 Higher Chemistry exam (nationwide): Male
So, not far off a 50:50 split. In other words, the sciences are as much a female as a male domain. As such, girls should be encouraged as much as boys to pick up a programming manual, packet of litmus paper, scalpel or voltmeter.
And Tesco can shove their sexist categorisations of learning toys up their corporate backside.
- Chemistry: it’s a boy thing? (prospect.rsc.org)