From Classroom to the Boardroom Gender Balance Remains a Challenge

Published on November 10, 2018

Over the last few decades, women empowerment in the workplace has been a growing and evolving discussion, forcing companies around the world to change their gender dynamics and instill diversity.  

A recent study by Small Business Prices has delved into data revealing the most and least gender diverse European countries and comparing them to the U.S. market.

U.S boardrooms are a clear example of gender disparity, where 80.08% of the boardrooms are occupied by men and only 19.92% are female figures.

The study shows the origin of gender imbalance, highlighting the correlation between the number of men and women deciding to continue their formation after high school, and the gender distribution in high power positions.

Gender distribution in college

The number of students deciding to continue into higher education has steadily increased over the last few years despite rising fees. Here are the top five subjects studied in the UK:

Business and administrative is one of the most popular subjects in the selected fields in the UK. There isn’t a large disparity between the number of female and male students – as 50.59% are male and 49.91% are women, the only subject that has a similar gender distribution.

Engineering and Technology comes as the second most popular subject on the list showing a significant disparity between the genders. There are just under 16.71% of women studying the subject, compared to an overwhelming 83.29% of men.

Computer science has seen an influx over the past few years. However, there is a significant difference between the number of men and women studying the subject. This subject is clearly associated with men; 82.79% men study computer science compared to only 17.21% women.

Law is the fourth most studied subject on the list. It is one of the subjects that have more female students compared to male, with 61.14% women and 38.86% men.

Out of the top five, medicine and dentistry is also one of the only subjects that have more female students than male. Over 56% of the students are female and just over 43% are male.

Genders represented across profession

There are subjects which are gendered causing the “glass slipper effect” which associates certain roles with certain genders.

These are the top three professions where the differences between genders are highly perceived:

Civil Engineers – Closely relating to the statistics showing the gender distribution of those studying engineering and technology, this is also reflected in the number of people in the profession itself. Civil Engineer has been revealed as the worst industry for gender disparity with 89% of men studying civil engineer and only 11% of women.

Nurses – This role has been associated with feminine and maternal qualities which may explain why 88% of the students are female and only 12% of them are men.

IT Specialists – This is another clear example of subjects associated with gender based on social stereotypes. Engineering, technology and science have often been associated with men. Similar to the civil engineer profession, IT specialists also see a considerable disparity between the sexes – with 83% of men in the role compared to 17% of women.

Quoting myself:

“Across all sectors, there is a great disparity between women and men in senior positions – especially in the boardrooms. The research shows there is a greater number of women in higher education, but this isn’t reflected in a number of industries – and many are set back by the gender pay gap.”

To see the gender parity of women in business and education, or for more statistics on how nations compare you can take a look at’s tool here.


Ian Wright is a contributor author to Grit Daily. He is the CEO of, which aims to give UK small businesses owners more accurate pricing information on a wide range of business products and services, helping them to find the right supplier and get the best deal.

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