IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Championing gender equality in schools

30 October 2018

The UCL Institute of Education is working with the Institute of Physics, the University Council of Modern Languages and King’s College London to challenge gender stereotypes and make sure that no child is held back by societal expectations of their gender.

Two school children with teacher. Image: Phil Meech for UCL Institute of Education

The Gender Action schools award programme was announced at the Greater London Authority (GLA) by the Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare. Based on a decade’s worth of research, the programme provides the practical support schools need to put gender equality at the heart of everything they do. 

Research shows that children’s career choices begin to be fixed from as early as age four, contributing to gender disparities right across the curriculum, with around 40% more boys taking STEM subjects for A Level, and 98% of those working in the early years sector being female. The Gender Action programme will support schools to put in place systems, structures and behaviours that allow students to reach their full potential, free from the limitations created by gender stereotyping. 

Funding from the GLA, as part of the Mayor of London’s #behindeverygreatcity campaign, has enabled Gender Action to undertake a Phase 1 roll-out in London schools. This will be followed by a national rollout in 2020.

Registration is open to education settings from nurseries through to further education colleges, as well as special schools and pupil referral units. The award programme provides tools to benchmark each school’s current policies and practices against national best practice, and a framework to ensure continued development. Schools can work towards recognition as a Supporter, Innovator, Champion or Beacon. 

Professor Becky Francis, Director, UCL Institute of Education, said: "I’m delighted to be able to support this opportunity for schools to take action against gender stereotyping, and put young people at the heart of change. The IOE’s long history of research and impact in gender issues in education, and our deep partnerships with more than 600 London schools, put us in an ideal position to work alongside schools to play a leading role in ensuring that education provides equal opportunities for all."

Media contact

Rowan Walker, UCL Media Relations 
T: +44 (0) 20 3108 8515 / +44 (0) 7769 141006
E: rowan.walker@ucl.ac.uk