Girls show greater interest in attaining a university degree compared to boys, a new British study has found. This dovetails previous reports and studies that similarly show a gender gap when it comes to university applications.

The study, published by The Sutton Trust, found that 65% of girls aged 14 (Year 9) believed it is “very important” to obtain a university degree, compared to 58% of their male counterparts. This gender gap persists, albeit to a narrower degree, when the question was posed to 16 year olds (Year 11) – 59% of girls said getting a degree is “very important” compared to 53% of boys.

The findings seemed to reinforce worries than boys are falling more and more behind in terms of education. A report released by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) in May was stark in its assessment. It noted that “[…] the evidence is compelling. Boys are performing worse than girls across primary, secondary and higher education, not to mention apprenticeships, and the situation is getting worse. On current trends, the gap between rich and poor will be eclipsed by the gap between males and females within a decade.”

The HEPI report cited data showing that in 2015, 18-year old UK females were significantly more likely to enter all types of universities except those with the highest entry criteria.

According to the Press Association, the university admissions service UCAS released figures showing that UK women currently outnumber men in nearly two-thirds of degree subjects. UCAS data also indicated that the gender gap in UK universities has nearly doubled since 2007.

The UK is far from the only country grappling with this issue – countries from China to Malaysia are experiencing this trend as well. 64% of university students in Malaysia are female, and that figure is nearly 60% in Thailand.

Image via Flickr.

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