FIGURES show girls are still in the minority in physics and maths in spite of the subjects becoming more popular.
Education and political figures show girls’ A Level choices locally reflect the national problem of only 20 per cent female physics students and 28 per cent take up further maths at A Level.
Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Tory leader Mike Lee said it halted scientific development in the area if only small numbers of women are working in science and technology fields. Coun Lee said maybe more would need to be done to encourage girls’ participation.
Haslingden High headteacher Mark Jackson said girls seemed less interested in pursuing the subjects even when plenty of female role models taught in schools.
Though girls and boys perform equally well at science and maths at GCSE, statistically girls are less likely to pursue the subjects.
Recent A Level figures show a rise in the take up of science and technology subjects, including a small rise in female students. However the persistently low levels of female students will see the Institute of Physics research why.
Coun Lee said he hoped girls in East Lancashire would start to explore the ‘rewarding careers’ offered in these fields.
He said: “If we don’t get to the bottom of what is putting the girls off, we will miss out on having some amazing female scientists.”
Haslingden High headteacher Mark Jackson said: “This remains an issue in spite of projects and groups set up to look into it. I don’t know what the answer is and I’m not alone. The girls just don’t seem as interested and I am not sure why. We have as many female maths teachers as male ones and only slightly more male physics teachers. Even when the role models are there, more boys are interested in the subjects.
“We have a science group called the Physics Geeks and they have a lot of fun - however again it is mostly boys who are showing that interest.”
The Institute of Physics president Frances Saunders said their upcoming study was “a real opportunity to find the solution to the chronic problem of too few girls in physics”.