Access to knowledge, education and training

Gender inequalities in education create imbalances in the access, the continuation, the results and the distribution of knowledge areas and barriers in academic results. Female and male students are distributed unequally according to the knowledge area or the professional field. This phenomenon is called horizontal segregation and it is closely related to the differential socialization process of girls and boys which determines academic decision-taking. Moreover inequalities are also relevant focusing on the glass ceiling, a phenomenon which prevents women from taking over high academic positions – despite of being the majority in the university classrooms- or in the educative community.

On the other hand gender inequalities are not only present in the education system. In the area of private education inequalities represent an issue in the access as well as in the participation. Furthermore it is relevant to evaluate to what extent gender equality is contemplated as an issue that needs to be addressed in this field.

For the time being, we don’t have information related to gender inequalities in secondary education, A-levels, in professional training and in private education. In the following we show quantitative data referring mostly to university education and a proposal of indicators and premises to guide future studies which make visible and analyse the city’s existing inequalities which were extracted from the qualitative research.

Student body

Data source: IGE (Galician Institute of Statistics), 2012.

The most notorious inequalities are concentrated in the stage of “Professional qualification programmes” (nowadays called “Basic professional training”) as well as in the “Higher and medium vocational training”. In the three cases the number of female students is significantly lower than for male students. On the other hand it is remarkable that in the category “A-levels” as well as in “A-levels adults” women are little more than half of the student body.

Data source: Equality Office USC, 2015.

We can see that in the classrooms of the USC more than half of the student body are women.

Data source: USC in numbers, 2014.

As shown in the figure, in all cases there are more female than male students who achieve a degree. The percentage of female university students is significantly higher in all cases except in the number of read dissertations.

So it is confirmed that female academic results are superior to males and that a glass ceiling in the university career exists.

Horizontal Segregation

Up to the moment we only count on information about the university sector. In the qualitative research the analysis of inequalities between the sexes of the student body and the teachers is organized by area of knowledge in secondary education, A-levels and vocational training.

Data source: Equality Office USC, 2015.

Horizontal segregation at university appears in the same way as in the labour market. The degrees included in health, legal and social science and in arts and humanities are the ones where female students are the majority in the classroom.

Data source: Equality Office USC, 2015.

More than half of the degrees at the USC are feminised, which means that they count on a proportion of female students equal or higher than 70%.

Most of these degrees belong to the areas of social science, health science and humanities.  

On the contrary only three degrees are masculinised and all of them belong to the area of technology science.

In the qualitative research the great influence of stereotypes and gender roles at the moment of taking decisions is pointed out. The excessive segregation, that nowadays exists, is identified, not only at university but also in vocational training, special education and in the knowledge areas of A-levels. In this regard, we reflect on the fundamental role played by the professionals of academic and professional orientation and the importance of introducing the gender perspective from early childhood education up to the higher levels, as well as counting on educational tools which promote the visibility of women in the scientific area.

Data source: Equality Office USC, 2015.

The horizontal segregation appears in the same way in case of the student body as in the teaching and investigation staff. In the degrees which belong to the area of Technical Science women are a minority (24.07%). In case of Health Science, Legal and Social Science and in Arts and Humanities women are less than half of the teaching and research staff, even though they are the majority of students in the classroom.

Vertical Segregation

Up to now we only have information about the university area. The qualitative research shows the imbalance between sexes in the executive teams of general educational institutions and in municipal pre- and primary schools.

Data source: Equality Office USC, 2015.

The provided data prove the existence of vertical segregation in the case of teaching and investigation staff of the USC. Despite of being a university with significantly feminized classrooms, the barriers and obstacles in the academic career of the female students keep having a significant presence.


Data source: Equality Office USC, 2015.

Regarding the presence of women in the spheres of academic power, the existence of barriers and obstacles which women have to face in the moment of achieving leading positions, is clear.

Data source: Equality Office USC, 2015.

Referring to the glass ceiling in the university area the qualitative research refers to the inequalities in the use of time and the influence of gender roles and stereotypes in the areas of power. These two factors influence so that women don’t achieve to occupy these positions.

Female presence in power spaces of the educational community

The qualitative research points out the need to investigate the distribution of people by sex in Associations of Mothers and Fathers (ANPAS) in the city’s school councils. On the other hand it is considered to be of interest to measure the presence of girls and women in the future Municipal Councils for Childhood and Coexistence at School.



Private education

In this part we point out the study of inequalities between women and men in their participation in activities (according to the intervention area) of social and social-cultural centres and leisure schools of the city. This participation includes attending people as well as professionals (female and male instructors). On the other hand we consider of interest to investigate the proportion that activities based on the topic of gender equality represent in the total of activities carried out in this type of centres and organizations.