“When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”

Norah Ephron

Over the past two years, numerous scandals have revealed the widespread extent of sexual harassment and misogyny in schools, with Ofsted’s 2021 report into this commenting on how boys have a sense of ‘superiority’ that makes them feel they can treat girls as they wish. 

End Sexism in Schools draws a direct line between the invisibility of women in the literature boys read, and the sexual harassment they inflict on girls. Without ever hearing women’s voices, reading and discussing women’s experiences, and learning to value and respect women’s contribution to literature, culture and history, is it any wonder that boys grow up viewing women as inferior to them, and worthy of little respect? 

This is why the content of the curriculum matters: teaching PSHE lessons on consent will only ever serve as a sticking plaster until the academic curriculum is overhauled to create an equal space for women’s achievements, voices and experiences alongside men’s.

The first campaign project carried out by the End Sexism in Schools team was a piece of in-depth crowdresearch, exploring the gender balance of texts taught in the KS3 English curriculum in England.

Supported by volunteers, we gathered data on the prose and drama texts taught in 891 schools in 104 Local Education Authorities (LEAs) across the country.

Below, you can explore our key findings by reading the full report and even examine the raw data. Why not search for your local school and see what the data shows about their English Curriculum?

Explore the data

Interested to know what the gender balance is like in the English curriculum at your school or your child’s school?

Look them up in our raw data table to find out here.

CPD – Gender Equalising your English Curriculum

Want to help balance the books in your school? Our CPD is aimed at teachers and senior leaders and covers our research findings, implications and practical steps for improving gender balance in the KS3 English curriculum. Designed to be either delivered in a single 1hr session or broken down over several shorter sessions to allow time for reflection, this CPD includes video voice over & guidance from English teacher and author of our research paper, Rachel Fenn. View and download from Google Drive now.