26 May 2023

On the occasion of International Women’s Rights Day, National Education publishes a barometer of equality between girls and boys, which compiles data from the management of evaluation, forecasting and performance on their careers. respective schools.

This year again, major discrepancies are emerging: across all schooling, girls come out of the school and university system more qualified. On the other hand, their performances drop out in mathematics compared to boys, and this, from CE1, and they choose science courses less willingly in high school. They also have less confidence in their ability to succeed, and are less likely to find stable employment after graduating. A “situation that is changing too slowly”declares Pap Ndiaye, the Minister of Education, in the preamble to this synthesis.

The differences between girls and boys appear very early: in first grade, they master French better than boys, and have a similar mastery in mathematics. But in CE1, if they maintain their advantage in French, they begin to lag slightly behind in math: according to the national assessments of September 2022, 73% of girls know “read whole numbers”, against 81%. They are 53% to have a “satisfactory mastery” of the bill, against 67%.

Read also: Mathematics at school: how the level gap between girls and boys widens from CP

This gap in performance in mathematics, and a fortiori in science, is found at the following stages of schooling. At the start ratings of 6ethe girls’ score is higher (by 13 points) than that of the boys in French, but lower (by 10 points) in mathematics.

Gendered streams in vocational high school

Unsurprisingly, they are therefore less likely to choose scientific streams in general high school, where gender biases become important: in 2022, 85% of students in the doublet “humanities, literature and philosophy” and “foreign languages, literatures and cultures” are girls. They form 75% of the contingent having chosen “history-geography, geopolitics and political science” and “humanities, literature and philosophy”. While these data are stable compared to the previous year, their share is on the other hand declining in certain scientific doublets. 56% of them choose SVT and physics-chemistry, down from 2021. The mathematics-physics doublet, chosen by 36% of girls, is progressing but remains a minority, since they represent 56% of the overall high school workforce. general. In higher education, their over-representation in human sciences courses continues.

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