The gender gap in maths in the UK is being warned by a charity


Sage Sunak’s national drive to improve the UK’s maths skills needs extra support to boost the confidence of women and girls, a leading numeracy charity has said.

In a report released on Thursday, National Numeracy said low confidence in maths among women is hampering their career prospects as it sought a more appropriate approach to the government’s planned expansion of compulsory maths education.

The charity has also called for additional support for young people and the unemployed. The findings, released after the Prime Minister’s latest speech, in which she set out her ambitions to reform maths education, show that working women are just as likely as men to achieve secondary school level maths qualifications. But they expressed less confidence when surveyed.

On a sliding scale from 1 to 10, women rated their confidence on average 6.5 versus 8.2 for men. “We need to tackle the gender confidence gap because it can make a real difference,” says National Numeracy chief executive Sam Sims.

“If we’re going to require every young person to do some form of math by age 18, we need to take specific steps to address these challenges.”

Government plans announced earlier in the year include the introduction of a new school-equivalent qualification for adult students and the possibility of extending compulsory maths education to all 16- to 18-year-olds.

National Numeracy, known for running the National Numeracy Challenge, says that around half of the working-age population has numeracy skills equivalent to a primary school leaver.

When launching the report on Wednesday, former social mobility commissioner Sandra Wallace said the government must take the issue seriously. “[Lower levels of numeracy] become a barrier and hold people back in their careers and advancement.”

According to think-tank Pro Bono Economics, it is estimated that low maths attainment and numeracy confidence could cost the UK economy more than £25 billion a year. National Numeracy says the UK lags behind other OECD countries.

“Women are not getting the financial and career outcomes they deserve,” said Lucy-Marie Heggs, UK head of credit card provider Capital One, who will sit on a panel advising the government on maths reform.

Although girls outperform boys at GCSE and A-level, the Agency for Higher Education Statistics reports that only 37 per cent of students studying maths-related subjects at the degree level are female.

About the author

Marta Lopez

I am a content writer and I write articles on sports, news, business etc.

By Marta Lopez


Get in touch

Content and images available on this website is supplied by contributors. As such we do not hold or accept liability for the content, views or references used. For any complaints please contact Use of this website signifies your agreement to our terms of use. We do our best to ensure that all information on the Website is accurate. If you find any inaccurate information on the Website please us know by sending an email to and we will correct it, where we agree, as soon as practicable. We do not accept liability for any user-generated or user submitted content – if there are any copyright violations please notify us at – any media used will be removed providing proof of content ownership can be provided. For any DMCA requests under the digital millennium copyright act
Please contact: with the subject DMCA Request.