Section 1: Gender stereotypes and equality


In this section we will look at:

  • The course aims
  • The structural nature and harm of gender inequality and stereotyping
  • The causes of female underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)

Learning outcomes for Section 1

By the end of this section you will have

  1. An overview of the course aims
  2. Explored the structural nature and harm of gender inequality and stereotyping
  3. Explored the causes of female underrepresentation in STEM
  4. Reflected on your own practice and classroom experience

Before you start on section 1.1 you should download your learning log [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . How you use the log is up to you. You can save it and work with it online or print it off and keep it up to date in hard copy.

Throughout the course you will be prompted to record your responses to individual and group activities and your reflections. The log provides a record of your learning that you can use in developing classroom activities and for professional update.

Course aims

This course aims to reduce barriers for participation in STEM subjects by female students through challenging gender stereotyping and building STEM capital in the classroom, using an enquiry based approach. This online OER is designed not only to deliver information but to contribute towards transformational change in schools.

Activity 1

You should start by noting down what you hope to achieve in studying this module

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


For example:

I want to break down perceptions of what is a boy’s subject and what is for girls?

I want to be able to challenge perceptions of what boys and girls can do.

I want to help to change the culture of my school in relation to gender stereotypes.

I’d like to understand why so few young women from my school go on to further study or employment in STEM

I want to develop some new ideas for encouraging my female pupils to have a positive attitude to STEM

I want to build my confidence to address unconscious bias and gender stereotyping in the classroom.

Safeguarding information