My Enquiry Question – First Draft

Here is my first draft of my focus and question – happy for any advice/feedback on this. Thank you!

Focus: Throughout my role of teaching RCCT Technologies from P4-7 in  2018-19 and P1-7 2019-2020 alongside developing Technologies/Digital Learning throughout the school I have observed a gender gap and bias towards STEM subjects from both pupils and parents/carers. From the literature I have read previously, I have noted that within my practice I am inviting both male and female visitors from STEM careers in through our Digital Learning Week and am beginning to have the ability and influence of exposing children to STEM from a young age. I am yet to begin to work alongside Parents/Carers to aid the development of their understanding of STEM subjects.

My focus is to address the gender gap through the exposure of STEM to our children throughout their primary education.


Question: In what way does the creation of STEM areas across the school help to address the gender gap?

What’s Already Known?


Upon reflection of my “itch” and having two possible enquiry routes,  I have decided to make my enquiry about ‘Approaching the Gender Gap within STEM and how this can be addressed within the Primary School Setting’.

So, what is already known?

STEM is currently a huge focus in education across the country due to a gap in employment rates dependent on gender. This needs to be addressed due to Technology being the fastest growing sector in Scotland and the demand for people to fill these roles is increasing rapidly, alongside a well documented shortage of engineers.

Skills Development Scotland mention in their 2018 publication ‘Tackling the Gender Gap’, that there are around 13,000 Digital Vacancies each year in Scotland. They continue to mention that although there has been a decrease in the gender gap in the digital sector, it has been minimal.

There has been literature to suggest that in order for the gender gap in STEM subjects to continue to decrease there needs to be work to be done in a few areas theses are:

In order to rid stereotypes in regards to STEM careers we need to expose children, particularly girls, to STEM as early as possible. This is something that can be done throughout our education settings, from early years onwards, through exposure to STEM themed play etc.

It is not only important to develop an understanding of STEM and its gender neutrality in school but also at home as well, as parents have a large influence on their child’s beliefs and careers. Accoring to the Institute of Engineering and Technology as part of its Engineering a Better World campaign, 93% of parents would not support their daughter in pursuing a career  in Engineering. They also go on to mention that a reason for this could be the lack of understanding that parents/carers have of the wide field that is STEM.

It is also important that we showcase females who are working within a STEM career rather than only having examples of male scientists etc.

Role Models can have a significant influence on whether a child goes on to pursue a career in STEM.

For girls and their subject choices, it has been said that relevance to their life seems to be a key driving force behind whether girls are encouraged to undertake stem subjects.

However, the aim is not to have a 50/50 split of both genders choosing to pursue a career in STEM or engage in a STEM related club – it is to ensure that all gender barriers are removed.

This literature has highlighted some areas that I feel as an educator I am tackling head on as well as others which I need to try and embedd within my practice and setting so that I am truly playing my part in decreasing the gender gap in STEM.


Education Scotland (2015), Looking at Gender Balance in STEM Subjects at School, (Accessed 29.12.2019)

Engineer a Better World (2019), (Accessed 29.12.2019)

Girls Into STEM (2017), Why is it Important?, (Accessed 29.12.2019)

Reinking, A., and Martin, B. (2018) The Gender Gap in STEM Fields: Theories, Movement and Ideas to Engage Girls in STEM. Journal of New Approaches in Edducational Research, 7(2), 148 – 153. doi: 10.7821/naer.2018.7.271

Skills Development Scotland (2018), Tackling the Technology Gender Gap Together, (Accessed 29.12.2019)