STEM v Teaching

WomanEngineerMalePrimaryTeacher

In this long article I take a look at what is being done to encourage women to take up STEM professions in which they are the minority. Specifically I will concentrate on mechanical engineering and physics. My purpose is to contrast this with what is being done to encourage men into a profession in which they are the minority, namely teaching.

Mechanical Engineering

The sheer volume of initiatives to encourage women into mechanical engineering prohibits anything like a comprehensive review. To make my exercise tractable I have concentrated on material produced by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). This largely omits initiatives within the universities, for example, as well as in schools, both of which are common and wide ranging.

You do not need to read the lengthy list of activities and initiatives I have identified below. The message is simply how much of it there is. A few facts firstly,

  • Women have been full corporate members of the IMechE since 1924.
  • The President of the IMechE was a woman in 1997 and 2012.
  • The current President of the Royal Academy of Engineering is a woman.
  • There is a Women’s Engineering Society.
  • There is a specific Register of Women Engineers.
  • There is a regular Women in Engineering Conference.
  • There is a National Women in Engineering Day.
  • There are several women-only engineering awards, including the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award and the First Women Awards.

These things are in addition, of course, to women being equally eligible for all roles, functions, facilities and recognition enjoyed by men. There are no men-only engineering societies, events, lists or awards.

In 2014 all of Britain’s FTSE 100 manufacturers had at least one female director on their boards. The Women in Manufacturing report shows that women account for 21% of directorships in FTSE 100 manufacturing companies (64 out of 305 manufacturing board seats).

From the IMechE Web Site

I list below a few things gleaned from the IMechE’s web site which relate specifically to encouraging women engineers.

  • January 2014: The IMechE published a report “Women in Engineering” with a recommendation that “the Department for Education works closely with industry, Higher and Further Education providers to fill our future pipelines with a diverse selection of engineers“.
  • June 2014: The Government launched a £30m fund to get more women into engineering. Companies can apply for funding to provide training programmes to boost female numbers.
  • Throughout 2014: The Women in Engineering Programme at Brunel University advertises 40 scholarships covering both the MSc course fees of £7,750 and a living allowance of £15,000. These scholarships are open only to women with the aim of supporting female graduates attain their full potential in the engineering profession. (I believe a similar scheme is running at Aberdeen University).
  • Young female engineers: your country needs you. This was the message from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which relaunched its Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards again in 2014. (There is also a Young Engineer Award, open to both sexes. There is no engineering award specific to men as far as I am aware – I think it unlikely that anyone would regard that as acceptable).
  • 24 January 2014: An article in the IMechE newsletter, “Engineers remembered for their enduring achievements” goes out of its way to specifically celebrate women, 11 of the 22 people remembered being women. Does making the numbers of men and women balance represent a balanced view of the history of engineering?
  • June 2014: Queen’s Birthday Honours recognised female STEM champions.  Former IMechE president Isobel Pollock and Women’s Engineering Society’s Dorothy Hatfield were awarded OBEs.
  • 2014: IMechE “Calendargrads” promotes positive role models for women. Institution graduate engineers promoted STEM careers for women through an innovative calendar featuring inspirational role models for female STEM undergraduates. (The union Prospect produced a similar women-in-STEM calendar in 2014).
  • 23 June 2014: National Women in Engineering Day is a day dedicated to raising the profile and celebrating the achievements of women in engineering. More than 80 events were held, including a one-day conference organised by the Women’s Engineering Society held at the IMechE, a Wikipedia editathon for women in engineering arranged by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a Women in Engineering webcast organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
  • The annual First Women Awards are held to celebrate the achievements of ground-breaking women from several sectors, including engineering and manufacturing. Now in their ninth year, the First Women Awards were created by Real Business and the CBI to recognise trailblazing women.
  • In September 2013 an extra £200 million funding for new engineering facilities was announced by the government. This money underpins government efforts to double the proportion of engineering degrees taken by women. This extra money was awarded to universities on the condition that the universities themselves put in the same amount, making £400 million in all. This is really serious money.
  • In 2013 the IMechE had new women members totaling 2,296 across all membership grades, representing 10% of all new elections and an increase of 47% on the previous year.
  • The Women into Science and Engineering (WISE) campaign was launched in 1984 jointly by The Engineering Council and the Equal Opportunities Commission. The aim of the campaign is to promote engineering as a suitable career for girls and women in the United Kingdom. Until the end of 1999 WISE was run by The Engineering Council but is now run by three organisations, EMTA, EEF and the Engineering Council.
  • In December 2012 MPs sought evidence on gender equality in engineering. The House of Commons business, innovation and skills committee has called upon engineers to submit evidence to an inquiry about gender equality in engineering. The call for evidence comes as part of a wider look at women in the workplace and why so few women enter and stay in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions.
  • In October 2011 a campaign was launched to boost the number of female engineers, the Talent 2030 Campaign, which claimed that early careers advice was crucial for girls to make informed subject choices.
  • Circa 2011 the IMechE produced, a glossy brochure “Women in Manufacturing” raising awareness of women’s achievements in senior engineering positions, aimed at providing encouraging role models.
  • In December 2011, Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, ran a programme to support 50 female engineers at Atkins as part of its career investment and progression programme. Female Atkins engineers benefitted from funding, training and one-to-one coaching.
  • In a 2014 survey, the institution found that 66% of the public associate the term engineer with men. 66% doesn’t sound too bad to me. Did they ask the public about their gender perception of nurses – or primary school teachers?

IMechE Journal: Professional Engineering, 2014

The house journal of the IMechE is “Professional Engineering”. It is published monthly. I have examined the 12 issues for 2014. The following summarises the coverage in this journal of “women into engineering” issues, the coverage relates to whole pages in most cases.

  • Jan       Page 65
  • Feb      Front page, pages 3, 16, 51, 53-55, 57,59-62 (10 pages)
  • Mar      Pages 40, 82
  • Apr      Pages 10, 70
  • May     Pages 32, 33, 83
  • Jun       Pages 5, 12, 66, 78
  • Jul        Pages 14, 15
  • Aug     Page 30
  • Sep      Page 83
  • Oct      Pages 34-37
  • Nov     Pages 71-74, 83-86 (6 pages)
  • Dec      Page 68

So, every issue contains material promoting women in engineering to some degree, and to a very major degree in some cases (e.g., the special issues in February and November). As an indication of the topics addressed, here are a few,

  • Women in engineering
  • Gender stereotyping (deters women) – several of these
  • Gender pay gap (editorial)
  • Female-only engineering awards (several of these)
  • Pool of talented women
  • Engineering definitely a job for the girls
  • Ad for Brunel University sponsorship for women in engineering
  • Push forward women engineers

In the November issue we were told we “Must Try Harder” by Dame Ann Dowling, the new president of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Dame Barbara Stocking, President of the all-female Murray Edwards College at Cambridge, exhorted us to “do what you need to encourage girls”, whilst Dame Julia King, former Rolls-Royce executive and vice-chancellor of Aston university, told us she had experienced sexist remarks. Rampant disadvantages have not, I note, prevented these three women from becoming Dames, following unusually successful careers.

In the July issue the results of a readership survey were published. 61% of respondents thought their company did enough to attract female engineers and 80% described engineering as an inclusive and welcoming profession. Despite that, 64% thought the IMechE should spend more money on marketing specifically to attract women.

Physics

Again the sheer scope of material aimed at encouraging women and girls into physics frustrates compiling a comprehensive list. So, I have largely ignored schools and universities and concentrated once again on material available via the professional body, the Institute of Physics (IOP). I note firstly the following worrisome development in A Level physics.

The conclusions of a review into the teaching of physics in schools by Murphy and Whitelegg (2006), summarised here , included “girls are more likely to value the social context in which tasks are placed in defining a problem; boys are less likely to notice the context“. The report recommended “the need for curriculum change and change in the teaching and assessment of physics in order to engage girls better. The curriculum should be “context based” or “humanistic”. Guess what? Most Examination Boards now offer two distinct A Level physics options. A whole new alternative A level syllabus has been introduced called “Physics B: Physics in Context”. It is clear that this has been done specifically to make the subject more suited to females. Actually changing the subject matter for reasons of gender bias is a deeply disturbing development. It demonstrates the power of the feminist lobby that they can make this happen – and quickly.

The President of the Institute of Physics, from 2013 to the present, is a woman. There was also a woman President in 2008-2010 and in 2011. The President of the Society of Biology is currently a woman, as is the President of the Royal Society of Chemistry. In May 2014 these three female Presidents issued a joint statement. They said,

This is a moment to celebrate progress, but crucially to encourage today’s young scientists to push very hard to make the future genuinely equal. For an area like science where the challenges and opportunities are huge, what is needed is real diversity among scientists and absolute equality of opportunity for all to become scientists.

I’m bound to observe that having women presidents of all three of these Societies might be taken as proof that equality of opportunity is already with us. But it is entirely typical that women reaching positions of influence will immediately and instinctively use that influence to further advantage women. It makes little difference, of course, since male Presidents will also pursue initiatives in favour of women. No one would ever favour men, of course. That would be outrageous. Unfortunately, as we will see, this remains true even where men are in the minority.

Some items gleaned from the IOP web site follow.

From the IOP Web Site  

The IOP web site, under “education”, has a “Girls in Physics” sub-site running to many pages. Its links page lists 34 sites specific to the promotion of women in science and engineering, for example the sites of Athena Swan (Charter for Women in Science), WISET (Women in Science Engineering and Technology), ScienceGrrl (a network of female scientists), EPWS (European Platform of Women Scientists), Cambridge AWISE (Women in Science and Engineering), and many more. You can follow further links on these sites to an ever expanding tree of resources specifically for women. None of this exists for men. As a man, you’re on your own, mate.

Other things from the IOP site included,

  • There is a Women in Physics Group within the IOP.
  • There is a Very Early Career Woman Physicist of the Year award, organised by Shell and the Institute of Physics.
  • 15 January 2015, “Girls in Physics Challenge”, organised by the Stimulating Physics Network to be held at the University of Nottingham. This will involve a challenge for teams of four Year 10-11 girls, with lectures, masterclasses, and a hands-on activity: design-build-test. (Year 10-11 boys do not require such a thing of course, an intimate knowledge of physics being acquired automatically through their penis – at least, that appears to be the suggestion. Girl-only opportunities like this are analogous to the now-discredited “Take Your Daughters to Work Day”. They are deeply pernicious and the very opposite of inclusivity).
  • In March 2015 Oxford University is hosting a 4 day Undergraduate Women in Physics Conference.
  • The Juno initiative, running since 2007, aims to redress the under-representation of women at all levels of physics academia in the UK and Ireland. Ten physics departments have now achieved Juno Champion status, the highest accolade awarded by the Institute of Physics (IOP) for their concerted and innovative approach to embedding gender equality in higher education physics.
  • An Institute of Physics Report in December 2013, “Closing Doors: Exploring gender and subject choice in schools”, used the National Pupil Database to track and analyse students’ progression to A-level in six gender-skewed subjects. It claimed to have “unearthed a range of worrying findings“. The worry here refers to the author’s concern that the schools have failed to encourage more girls into physics at A level. However, personally I am rather more worried by something which the author of the report revealed to me in private correspondence, namely that, “we struggled to find subjects dominated by boys“. Let me translate: this means that the focus of concern is on a relatively rare instance of male dominance (physics) not on the predominant cases of female dominance (virtually everything else).
  • “Girls into Physics Action Research”: In July 2011, the Institute’s Stimulating Physics Network initiated an action research programme focused on Girls in Physics. Teachers from 23 Partner Schools worked with Teaching and Learning Coaches to explore the particular circumstances that might influence the uptake of A-level physics by girls.
  • (2013) “Science: it’s a People Thing” – a discussion workshop for girls: The Institute of Physics has worked in partnership with WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) and Intel to create this workshop, designed to inspire girls about the STEM subjects where they are under-represented, such as physics and computer science. The workshop uses role models to facilitate small group discussion and explore gender stereotyping.
  • (2011) “It’s Different for Girls: the influence of schools”: How can parents and senior leaders in schools support the take-up of A-level physics by girls?
  • (2010): “Engaging with Girls: an action pack for teachers”: This resource is for anyone interested in encouraging more girls to continue with physics post-16.

Most of the above initiatives come complete with teaching aids and advice, powerpoints, pdfs, and other such supportive material.

Women in STEM Generally

I emphasise that the examples given above are hopelessly incomplete even for just physics and mechanical engineering. And then there are all the other STEM subjects, for which I now note just a very few examples of recent initiatives.

  • In February 2014 the UK Commons Select Committee report on “Women in Scientific Careers” was published.
  • There is an “International Girls in ICT Day” (ICT = Information and Computer Technology) held every April. Teenage girls and female university students are invited to spend the day at the office of ICT companies, government agencies and academic institutions so they better understand the opportunities the ICT sector holds for their future. [Again I find this disconcertingly similar to “Take Your Daughters to Work Day”, a long discredited initiative started by radical feminists. The provision of such opportunities to females only is blatant discrimination].
  • In June 2014 Google announced their scheme to encourage women into coding, funding it with a cool $50 million.
  • Athena Swan sets itself up as providing a “Charter for women in science: Recognising commitment to advancing women’s career’s in STEMM academia”. The approach of this organisation is to accredit scientific institutions and laboratories as sufficiently female-friendly. A few months ago I received a leaflet from the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, one of the world’s most prestigious physics labs, boasting that they had achieved Athena Swan accreditation. It’s quite a propaganda coup to pull off – getting people to aspire to do what you want them to do, and getting them to be proud to be publicly declared as obedient.

Here are some personal diary notes from just one week about a year ago,

I turned on the radio at random the other day (2/12/13). Woman’s Hour was on (it seems always to be on). They were featuring women scientists (“Power List Scientists”). Give the girls some role models and they might follow suit, that was the message. Another random switch-on of the radio the next Saturday (7/12/13) and, guess what, it was Woman’s Hour again. This time there was someone exhorting girls to do STEM subjects at A level. Same message, different day. The same day I got an email from my trade union, Prospect. It was advertising a 2014 calendar produced by the union celebrating women working in STEM professions. It’s hard to believe that this is not all coordinated, isn’t it? Well, it is. Just look at how much muscle these women can pull. The union, together with the Calendar photographer, is mounting a one day exhibition of these portraits at the Royal Society on 10/12/13. This year the union also produced a charter for women in STEM – supported by the TUC, and launched a campaign at the House of Commons in November, which involved MPs signing pledges to act on a number of issues of concern, one of which is women in STEM occupations.

Summary for Engineering and Physics

The message is this: there is a truly immense amount being done to encourage women into STEM professions. So much, in fact, that it defies attempts to itemise it all, I can only demonstrate that it is indeed huge in volume. These efforts do not only originate from women’s groups and government but also largely from the male dominated professions themselves. And the sums of public money being spent on this are considerable, many tens of millions of pounds per year.

Just remember this as we look at the situation in education.

Education

My main concern here is with teachers, specifically the disappearing male teacher. In 2012, about 1 in 8 primary school teachers was a man, and only 38% of teachers at secondary school were men. In 1970 these figures were 1-in-4 and 60% respectively. There has been a huge decline in male teachers over the last 50 years. The situation is most acute in primary schools, with a quarter of primary schools having no male teacher.

However, the subtext here is that boys and young men are falling by the wayside in education.

Girls outperform boys at every stage in education. Specifically, girls outperform boys in virtually all subjects as regards the percentage attaining an A grade at A level, the difference being up to ~10%. Even in physics, that bastion of maleness, girls outperform boys by nearly 8% in terms of the percentage of those taking the exam who achieve an A grade. It is girls who have the largest number of A-level candidates in any science, namely biological sciences, contrary to popular belief. Women go on to outperform men dramatically at university and college. In 2012 the number of women gaining a first or upper second class degree in England & Wales exceeded the number of men by 40% (140,155 women cf 99,875 men). Even in the physical sciences and the mathematical sciences, where there are more men students, women still account for 42% and 41% of students respectively. Only in engineering and computer science is men’s dominance emphatic.

The 2012 graduate figures suggest that we can expect 60% of doctors to be women, 77% of vets to be women, 60% of lawyers to be women, 60% of journalists to be women, 63% of social workers to be women, and 77% of teachers to be women. So you might expect, given the enormous angst about women in STEM subjects that there should be at least as much angst about the disappearing male from all the above areas. Is there? Of course not, but I will confine my more detailed observations to teaching in this article.

It is reasonable to suspect that the decline in male teachers, coupled, no doubt, to the disappearance of fathers from families, may be related to the decline in boys’ educational attainment. The suggestion is unpopular in certain quarters. However, it is this possibility (or likelihood?) which raises my concern about the low numbers of men in teaching.

In 2009 the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDAS) had what they described as “a major push” to increase the number of male teachers in primary schools. Hundreds of men attended events in schools, where heads, deputies and teachers tried to persuade them to join the profession. Good on TDAS, but unfortunately the number of male primary school teachers has fallen further since. It is telling that Graham Holley, then chief executive of the TDAS, said,  “Whenever I talk about the need to get more men into primaries, the unions say I’m being anti-women“.

Hmm, have we identified the problem here?

I have examined the web sites of the major teaching unions to discover just how concerned they are about the low proportion of male teachers, especially in primary schools.

National Union of Teachers (NUT)

I scoured the NUT web site  to find anything which related to the under-representation of men in teaching.

I found absolutely nothing.

There was much on “Equalities”, including an Equalities Bulletin. There was the usual concern about gay, lesbian and black people, as well as every racial minority you can think of. However nothing related to the elephant in the room: that teaching is a profession where men are seriously under-represented. Clearly the NUT don’t care.

Under “Gender Equality” there was a page on “Women and Equality” – but of course none on men and equality. This is what we have come to regard as normal.

But hold on – this is a profession overwhelmingly dominated by women! Should the default concern not be for the minority, and hence should not “Men and Equality” be the issue here?

Silly, naive me. What the “Women and Equality” page is for is to assist with the teaching of gender equality. I didn’t know that was a school subject. Is it? Here’s an extract from the page,

Materials here relate to key developments in the struggle for women’s equality. Materials also aim to highlight the continuing need to improve the rights of women and girls both in the UK and across the world. The resources aim to encourage students to explore social injustices and deepen their understanding of persisting inequalities which exist between men and women in today’s society.

There are links to the following further detailed subject areas,

  • The right to vote
  • Equal Pay & The Equal Pay Act 1970
  • Global issues affecting women and girls
  • Women and poverty
  • Violence against women and girls
  • Gender stereotyping
  • International women’s day

You don’t need me to tell you what sort of stuff there is on these pages. You must be convinced by now that what we have here is the archetypal feminist material. Our schools are being run by feminists. I knew this at some level before, but seeing the evidence is chilling.

Other things I spotted on the NUT site relating to equality issues included…

  • As regards gender specific training, I saw only one – Women’s Development. We have training specifically for women in my workplace – but then in an engineering environment with only a minority of women you could make a case for it (not that I would agree with it, but you could make a case). But what can be the excuse for having female-only training in a profession strongly dominated by women? Clearly the NUT believes in disadvantaging minorities – as long as the minority in question is men.
  • Reclaim the Night 27th November Central London: “Since 2004, the London Feminist Network has organised an annual, national women’s Reclaim the Night march against rape and all forms of male violence against women. NUT is proud to support this annual event“. Well, there you are. An unambiguous confession that the NUT is feminist. These people are teaching our children. Thank Christ mine are no longer at school.
  • “Breaking the Mould”: A project based in five primary schools about gender stereotypes. You can have no doubt about the feminist perspective at work in this. Here is an extract. “As a society, we regularly seem to confuse gender with sex. Many of the differences that exist between men and women (such as physical strength and appearance) are linked to biology – and in our highly mechanised world, many of these are much less significant than they used to be. (Translation: men are redundant because they were only ever of use for their muscles). Gender describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine. These definitions are culturally dependant and highly malleable – and, perhaps, it is for these very reasons that we police them so strenuously.” Well, for a start, the word “dependent” has been mis-spelt (“dependant” is the noun, whereas the verb “dependent” was required here), shocking in a report by teachers, but I cannot say I’m surprised. More importantly, this is a statement of the feminist dogma that gender is a cultural construct. This dogma is scientifically false. It is appalling that such falsehoods can appear in a formal document. But it proves that what we have here is radical feminism. The document says nothing whatsoever about the gender issue of the teachers themselves – the elephant in the room.

Finally, there is the “Gender and Education: An NUT Policy Statement”. It is dated 2001 but is still linked on the NUT site in 2014 so I presume it is still the current policy. Some extracts are as follows, in italics, with my commentary afterwards,

  • It must be recognised that the rising achievement of girls is not the same as girls having equality of opportunity. There is continuing inequality in the outcomes of education and women are still over-represented among the low paid in the workforce and underrepresented among the highly paid. The contrast between the rising achievement of girls in school and under-achievement post-school should be a major concern“. This is factually incorrect. Woman in the age range 18 – 40 earn the same per hour as men. But regardless of that, it is staggering that the very people whose job it is to educate our boys attempt to excuse their failure based on what happens after school. But this is irrelevant. It seems relevant to them only because they are feminists first and teachers second. The fact is, from a feminist outlook it will always be the girls, and only the girls, that deserve any concern. Can there be any mystery as to why boys are failing at school?
  • Female role models are still needed in many areas of working life and the teaching profession is no exception. The NUT believes that it is important educationally for children throughout their school lives to see women and men teachers in a wide range of roles, in all phases of education, throughout the whole range of curriculum subjects and in senior management positions in all schools. It is also felt that employers need to address the gender imbalance in senior school management. At present, women are approximately four times less likely to become heads in primary schools than their male colleagues, and in secondary schools, about three times less“. Ah, female role models are required, eh? No mention of male role models being required – despite the fact that it is exactly those, and not females, which are missing. Again, it is mind-bendingly reversed logic. And rather than bother mentioning – at all – the dearth of male teachers – instead the NUT is interested only in headships. And when they say that woman are “four times less likely to become heads in primary schools than their male colleagues” did you interpret that as meaning that there are four times fewer women heads? You were meant to. But this “four times less likely” is against a female:male teacher ratio of 8:1, so it means that there are twice as many female heads. Yes? So they are complaining that there are only twice as many female heads – and they want far more. Yes? Got it? Do recall how the engineering and physics professions are bending over backwards to assist women into those professions, and contrast that with how these staggeringly self-centred, sexist women teachers are behaving towards their minority male colleagues.
  • Then there was this gem: “Recent research has shown, however, that men also feel unsure of their roles, particularly as primary teachers. Further research is needed to examine the factors that deter men from joining the profession“. Really? You need more research to figure it out? Let me help. There was no mention in this document of the principal reason deterring men from going into primary teaching, which is well known and can be confirmed by interviewing men on teacher training courses. It is the fear of being falsely accused of being paedophiles. And who is it exactly who has promulgated that slur – that all men are child molesters? Feminists, the authors of this document. And what do men trying to enter the profession discover? They discover that they are entering a feminist controlled zone. Why should men be deterred from joining a feminist group? Well that might be because feminism cares not two hoots for men and actually promotes an ideology that masculinity is intrinsically toxic.

Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL)

A search on the word “woman” on the ATL web site resulted in a page on “Home Office Consultation: Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls: Response from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, May 2009“. I’ll not take up space quoting from their reply. Suffice it to say that it could have been written by Women’s Aid. For example, whilst they do mention domestic violence against men what was said was: “Male callers to the helpline sometimes present as victims but that during the course of the call the evidence presented by the caller indicates a more complicated situation“; “there is a “dearth of reliable data about the prevalence of domestic violence against men“. Oh, dear. 100% feminist lies. Why should there be anything relating to DV on a teaching web site unless it’s being run by monomaniacal feminists? Of course, male teachers who pay their subs to this union are expected to just suck up this misandry without a murmur. And they do.

Finally I found something that directly addresses the issue of the under-representation of men in teaching. In an article “Do we need more men? we read,

It is a well-known phenomenon that primary teachers are predominantly women. But is this really such a problem? The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) is repeatedly getting the headlines for its campaign to encourage more men to become primary school teachers. To contend that we need more male primary staff because they bring unique attributes and skills that women do not have reinforces discrimination and is at odds with research that shows a teacher’s gender has no impact on educational attainment. If anything, we need committed male practitioners in primary education to tackle the gender stereotypes that suggest working with young children is a woman’s job.

I pause the quote here to point out that in the last sentence “committed male practitioners” is code for male feminists. And note the double standard in the question, “is this really such a problem?”. This is precisely the question we are not permitted to ask in the context of women in STEM, of course. I have no faith whatsoever in the claims that research does not support male disadvantage in education. We are now too familiar with “research” emanating from feminist controlled bodies, which is guaranteed to produce their desired conclusion. In contrast, just yesterday, Alun Jones, the new president of the Girls’ Schools Association, was reported in the Sunday Times as calling for “boys to be protected from the classroom domination of girls by being taught in single- sex classes between the ages of 11 and 16“. He said that, “teenage girls were intimidating boys in the classroom nationwide“. There is a strong case for single-sex education of boys from a much younger age, as advocated, for example, by Chris McGovern.

The ATL article continued,

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has now published Mythbusters: addressing gender and achievement, which identifies the most frequent misconceptions about gender and education. The evidence cited by the DCSF states that boys do not underachieve across the curriculum, nor do they have different abilities or ways of learning from girls. There is no evidence to suggest that boys benefit from a competitive learning environment, single-sex classes or a ‘boy-friendly’ curriculum.

However doubtful you might be about these claims, any credibility at all is blown to pieces by the statement “boys do not underachieve across the curriculum”. Yes, they do. What planet are you on?

To suggest that male teachers are better at getting pupils, in particular boys, to behave and work harder, is not only contradicted by evidence, but it is also systematically devaluing excellent female education staff up and down the country.

In other words, any drive for more men in teaching is anti-women. This is precisely the observation that Graham Holley made about teachers (see above). Whatever you might think of the arguments put forward here, what is clear is that the author of the above words does not believe there is any pressing need for more men teachers.

And note the contrast with the feminist claims which we perpetually hear, that the presence of women, e.g., in the Board Room, will automatically bring benefits. That this might be “devaluing the excellent male Board members” is not something that we are allowed to say.

Educational Institute of Scotland

I’ll be brief on this one, you’ll be getting the picture already. It’s more of the same. Some of the items revealed by searching on the word “women” were,

  • Violence against women campaigns;
  • International women’s day (several years);
  • STUC: Inspiring Women;
  • EIS Equality Bulletin 2009: Commemorating the women’s suffrage movement
  • The link “domestic abuse leaflet” turned out to be “Violence against women: how the unions can help”;
  • An article on breast cancer (I searched for prostate cancer and found nothing);

The link “breaking down barriers: the gender jigsaw“,  with the names of 16 women and two men on the front, contains these views,

The large number of women teachers should not be seen as the reason for boys’ apparent underachievement compared to that of girls. There is no clear reason why teaching has become a profession that is attracting more women than men.

There is a clear reason in the case of primary schools, and perhaps secondary schools as well: the fear men have of being falsely accused of indecent behaviour. But it is awkward for the feminist lobby to confront this because it would lead to exposing the misandric nature of the popular narrative. It is at least admitted that, “The fact that teaching does not attract men is a legitimate concern“. However, the report makes no recommendation as to how to tackle the issue.

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)

Under the banner “Equalities” the NASUWT web site has a “Women Members” page, but, of course, no “Men Members” page. Why should men require it – they are only a minority?

Searching on “women” revealed the following,

  • Each year the NASUWT holds a Women Teachers’ Consultation Conference. The theme of last year’s Conference was ‘Global Equality in Education for Women and Girls’.
  • TUC Women’s Conference
  • No More Page 3 Campaign
  • Parliamentary Enquiry into Violence Against Women & Girls 2014
  • Emmeline Pankhurst Day – 14 July 2014

Nowhere on the NASUWT site did I find anything relating to the gross under-representation of men in teaching.

Teaching Awards

There are various teaching awards such as the Pearson Teaching Awards and the Teacher of the Year Award. None are gender specific as far as I have discovered. Unlike, say, engineering, in which the minority sex is encouraged with such awards as the Young Women Engineer Award and the Women First Awards, there is no equivalent in teaching. There is no Young Man Primary Teacher Award. Why not? Well, because the women would not like it, that’s why.

In Summary

The male dominated engineering and physics professions are energetically and positively involved in actively encouraging women into their professions. The contrast between this and what men face in the teaching profession could not be more stark. In the teaching unions there is no recognition whatsoever that men, the minority, deserve any assistance or encouragement at all. Worse, there is active hostility to any attempt to facilitate men’s increased participation in education. Also, the overtly feminist atmosphere, at least if the unions are indicative, must be discomforting and off-putting to any non-feminist male teacher.

But it is actually more important to have gender balance in teaching than in the STEM professions, not less. The public do not care whether a bridge is designed by a man or a woman, only that he or she is a competent engineer. The only people who benefit from having more women in STEM is the women STEM professionals themselves, not the public at large. In contrast, more men in teaching is desperately required to provide role models for children who, in many cases, have no adult male in their lives at all. Gender imbalance in teaching is adversely affecting the whole rising population, of both sexes.

If equality were a reality we might ask,

  • Where is the Men Into Primary Teaching campaign?
  • Where is the Young Man Primary Teacher of the year award?
  • Where is the Men First Award to celebrate the achievements of ground-breaking men in Primary Teaching?
  • Where is the Male Primary Teachers Conference?
  • Where is the National Men in Teaching Day?
  • Where is the Juno Initiative for male teachers? Why are primary schools not under a moral obligation to acquire the equivalent of “Juno Champion” status in respect of male teachers?
  • Where is the equivalent of Athena-Swan for male teachers? Why are primary schools not under a moral obligation to acquire the equivalent of “Athena Swan” accreditation in respect of male teachers?
  • Where is the Calendar celebrating male primary school teachers, bearing the 13% figure in their captions?
  • Why has there been no House of Commons Select Committee on gender equality in teaching? Why have teachers not been required to submit evidence to such an inquiry, as they have in engineering?

But no one dare ask these questions because we all know, at some level, that our society isn’t ready for anything as radical as equal treatment for males.

This is what feminism looks like. And still the public think it is about equality.

I am largely indifferent to what is happening in respect of women in STEM. I would question whether spending tens of millions on the matter is a good use of public money, but beyond that I am happy enough for women to be encouraged as much as people might like.

But I am incensed about the education issue. It is not merely about more male teachers but also about the crushingly feminist, and feminised, environment in schools. This can only be reversed if societal attitudes are simultaneously reversed. At the most optimistic this is unlikely to happen in less than many decades. And presently there is no political capital in even considering such an undertaking.

The best option for boys is to be educated in a predominantly male environment, both in terms of teachers and pupils, and free from feminist contamination. But how can this be brought about?

12 thoughts on “STEM v Teaching

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  2. Daniel

    Great article. I am really glad I have found your site. You are saying the things that my first hand experience as a teacher and STEM outreach practitioner has found. It is just a continuing cycle of half truths and myths that are being told to the young girls at school, which then creates the barriers that these organisations are supposed to remove.

    Reply
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  4. Barbara Davies

    Hi – I’m one of the feature writers at the Daily Mail, writing an article about the discrepancy between the numbers of males and females that go to university and what the causes are. I’m also looking at why more men are not being encouraged into teaching. Would it be possible to speak to you about this?
    I’m on 07712 778869 or barbara.davies@yahoo.co.uk.

    Reply
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    1. William Collins

      Unfortunately I’d have to condense it to less than one-quarter the length to meet AVFM’s 1500 word limit for general posts. Since the sheer volume of material is the message here, it probably wouldn’t work.

      Reply
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