• According to the 2011 Census, 51% of the population of England and Wales is female and 49% male.
  • In the last set of ‘A’ Level exams taken by pupils, (2019), 25.5% of girls got A/A* grades compared to 25.4% of boys.
  • The gender split of the UK Higher Education student body is 56% female and 44% male, (March 2020). 

Women make up 55% of teaching staff in UK universities, 37% of senior leadership teams and 29% of Vice-Chancellors are female. 

  • In 2019, 53% of first year students at Oxford were female and 47% male. 

In 2019, 19% of Oxford University’s Statutory Professors, (the university’s most senior academic grade), were female and 81% male. 

In 2015 a freedom of information request revealed that amongst senior personnel at Oxford University, 13 women and 145 men were paid over £140,000 a year. 

  • In UK secondary schools, 38% of the work force are male and 62% are female, but 64% of secondary headteachers are male and 36% are female.
  • Of the 195 countries in the world, 15 have female leaders and 180 have male leaders.
  • Women over 30 years of age were given the vote in 1918. 

At the 2019 General Election, 430 male MPs and 220 female MPs were elected. A total of 6 of the 24 members of the current cabinet are women. 

In 2022, 550 males and 221 females had seats in the House of Lords. The first women took their seats in the House of Lords in 1958. 

  • In 2020, 5% of FTSE 100 CEOs were women and 95% male. Male FTSE 100 CEOs receive total remunerations averaging £5,299,609 a year, their female counterparts receive average renumeration of £4,416,455 a year: a difference of over £800,000 per annum. 

Five articles published in one newspaper, (Monday, April 10th 2022), contained information covering the following: –

  1. The Care Quality Commission’s report, (2022), into maternity services in England. The report rated 80 of 193 maternity services as inadequate and not meeting basic safety standards. A report by NHS England found that 231 women died in childbirth between 2017 and 2019, and that more than 80 of these women could have been saved had they received better care.
  2. The Home Affairs Committee’s report, ‘Investigation and Prosecution of Rape’ (2022). This report was based on data from the year September 2020 – September 2021. 63,136 rapes were reported to the police during this period, with 1,557 successful prosecutions. Successful prosecutions amounted to 1.3% of the total number of rapes reported.
  3. The UK army’s ‘Sexual Harassment Report’, (2022). This report stated that one in every 25 women serving in the armed forces had reported being raped by a colleague from the armed forces. Currently 5.6% of senior officers in the armed forces are female.
  4. Oxford University’s refusal to sign a government backed pledge against the misuse of gagging orders. These gagging orders have been used inappropriately to silence victims of sexual misconduct, or other illegal or inappropriate behaviour. 
  5. The National Gallery’s exhibition of ‘Women in our Collection’, (2022). The gallery revealed that of the 2,300 paintings they own, 25 were by female artists: equal to 1.09% of their collection. An investigation by the Guardian newspaper in 2018 revealed that female artists account for 4% of the National Gallery, Scotland’s collection and 35% of Tate Modern’s collection. 

No matter how much equality legislation is passed by parliament and how many targets set, the move towards gender equality remains painfully slow. It is up to women to be proactive and to force their way through glass ceilings in large enough numbers to make change inevitable. Those who are well served by maintaining the status quo are unlikely to be motivated to make the changes required for society to recognise women’s skills, ways of working, and to fully exploit their intelligence and abilities. 

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