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Getting the balance right

Getting the balance right

22 Feb 2016

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has today set out ambitious plans to tackle gender imbalance at colleges and universities in its first Gender Action Plan.

SFC will be working with colleges and universities to address the gap between male and female undergraduate numbers, gender imbalance in subjects and in staying on and finishing courses.

The Scottish Government’s Developing the Young Workforce strategy asked SFC to develop a Gender Action Plan to address gender imbalances at a subject level within colleges. The interim plan builds on this to include ambitions for both colleges and universities.

Among the plan’s key aims are that no subject has an extreme gender imbalance (75:25) and that the gap between male and female participation in undergraduate study is reduced to five percentage points, both by 2030.

Prioritising those least likely to enter higher education, the plan focuses on male students from the most deprived areas of Scotland, who are 8.5% less likely to go to university.

Laurence Howells, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said:

Men are in demand in careers like care, nursing, teaching and social work and we want to help them get there, just as we want to help women into areas where they are highly sought after like engineering, technology and construction. This is an ambitious plan and we will be working closely with our partners, colleges and universities to achieve its aims, prioritising those least likely to enter higher education.”

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training, said: “Our colleges and universities are already doing good work to encourage both women and men into traditionally male or female dominated subjects but there is no room for complacency. We need to continue to work with schools, employers and other partners to make school pupils aware of the variety of opportunities, the different paths into a career and to address gender imbalances in different subjects. This work addresses a key recommendation of the Commission for Developing the Young Workforce and this interim report allows us to see the progress made so far and what more is needed to be done.”

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