Debates between Lord Watts and Baroness Berridge during the 2019-2024 Parliament

Education: Gender Equality

Debate between Lord Watts and Baroness Berridge
Tuesday 10th March 2020

(4 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge
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There is, obviously, the Equality Act and the public sector equality duty, so we are not without statutory force in this area. The content of the curriculum is not covered by the Equality Act, but the manner in which it is taught is part of the inclusion framework within Ofsted—so there are tools, including statutory ones, that are used to ensure that our schools are promoting gender equality and breaking down stereotypes, particularly through careers education, even into primary schools now, so that, from the earliest age, children and young people understand that every job is open to them.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, it is clear that this policy is not working. What will the Government do more and differently to ensure that this matter is addressed, because it is certainly not working so far?

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge
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In relation to specific areas where girls have historically not been entering sectors of employment, we are looking at encouraging them. There is a particular issue around STEM qualifications, so we are working hard to break down those barriers. We have seen a 31% increase in the number of girls taking A-level STEM subjects. I accept that the rate of girls’ participation in those subjects is not what we want it to be, but we are also seeing a rise in female STEM undergraduates, so we are going in the right direction.