Gender divide clear on courses

Girls form the overwhelming majority of young
people choosing to study for vocational qualifications in health
and social care, according to the Equal Opportunities

A NOP family poll carried out for the
commission found that 92 per cent of those taking an
intermediate-level GNVQ in health and social care were girls. In
contrast, of those young people choosing IT as a GNVQ, 81 per cent
were boys.

The commission is using the findings as part
of its What’s Stopping You campaign to challenge gender
stereotyping in the world of work, which it launched last week.

Adverts featuring a still from the film Billy
Elliott as well as England’s 1966 World Cup victory, with a girl’s
head superimposed on Bobby Moore’s body (see left), will appear in
a range of magazines throughout November and December, with the aim
of giving young people the confidence to do something different. A
resource pack for teachers and career advisers has also been

“Working women are still concentrated in a
narrow range of occupations, all at the lower-paid end of the
labour market,” said commission chairperson Julie Mellor. “We won’t
get true equality in the workplace unless measures are taken at
school to encourage young people to pick from all the options

Anne Weinstock, chief executive of youth
programme Connexions, endorses the campaign. She said: “Equality of
opportunity is one of the principles that form the basis of the new
Connexions service. This means raising participation and
achievement levels for all young people, influencing availability,
suitability and quality of provision, and raising awareness of

She said a key element was challenging
stereotyping and broadening the horizons of both girls and


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