Understanding the Gender Gap at the Highest Performance Level in Leaving Certificate Higher Level Mathematics
The proportion of female entrants to the actuarial profession in Ireland peaked at approximately 50% in the early 2000’s. However, since then there has been a sharp decline in the proportion of female entrants, to just 30% in the last two years.
The Society’s Gender Pipeline Working Group has found that the marked decline in the proportion of female entrants broadly mirrors a gender gap at the highest performance level in Leaving Certificate Higher Level Maths, which has been particularly evident since 2012. Coincidentally (or not), that was when the new “Project Maths syllabus was first examined. It was also the year that flat bonus points were introduced for marks of 40% or more.
As well as being of great concern for the actuarial profession, this gender gap is likely to have implications at a wider society level in terms of addressing gender imbalance in STEM and in female access to high-points third level courses generally.