Government failing Physics and Girls

Chi Onwurah 

(Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab)

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Yesterday, in evidence to the Select Committee on Science and Technology, the chair of the Government’s Social Mobility Commission said that

“physics isn’t something that girls tend to fancy. They don’t want to do it, they don’t like it…I just think they don’t like it. There’s a lot of hard maths…The research generally…just says that’s a natural thing”.

She said she was

“certainly not out there campaigning”

for more girls to do physics, adding:

“I don’t mind that there’s only 16%”.

That contradicts the lived experience of many girls and women who love maths, such as myself, and research from many organisations and institutions such as the Institute of Physics, the all-party group on diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering and maths, which I chair, and, most importantly, the Government’s own stated policy on encouraging girls in STEM. Can you, Mr Speaker, advise me: given that we are proroguing today I cannot lay any written questions, so how can I ascertain whether the Government have changed their policy on encouraging girls into STEM?


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