Gender and achievement in the UK and Hong Kong

Becky FRANCIS, Yuk Yee Pattie LUK-FONG, Christine SKELTON

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

1 Citation (Scopus)


Gender and achievement is a controversial issue. While second-wave feminists attended to the underachievement of girls, in recent years an international concern has developed in relation to the apparent underachievement of boys, to the extent that many commentators have identified the fervor in media and policy surround-ing this issue as a moral panic. The debate around boys’ underachievement was ini-tiated in the early 1990s in the UK and in Australia, but is now well established in other countries too. Moreover, it has been shown to influence the understandings of student teachers, and teachers in the classroom, raising clear issues for teacher educators. Feminist researchers have argued that many of the concerns about boys are misplaced, and the tenor of the debate retrogressive. The overwhelming focus on attainment at the expense of other issues (such as identity and power) in these debates perpetuates ignorance and lack of concern for the ongoing reproduction of gender inequality by educational institutions. This debate has not been taken up seriously in the Hong Kong education arena. However, concerns about the issue among some parents and teachers evoke the ‘panic’ experienced elsewhere (University of HK Faculty of Education Alumni Association, 2005). In this chapter, we seek to analyse the figures on gender and achievement in England and Hong Kong, and to unpick some of the assumptions and explanations underpinning commentary on boys’ underachievement in both countries, in order to provide a more balanced account of the field. Copyright © 2012 the authors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFuture directions for inclusive teacher education: An international perspective
EditorsChris FORLIN
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Electronic)9780203113585, 9781136287343
ISBN (Print)9780415519007, 9780415518994
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Francis, B., Luk-Fong, P. Y.-y., & Skelton, C. (2012). Gender and achievement in the UK and Hong Kong. In C. Forlin (Ed.), Future directions for inclusive teacher education: An international perspective (pp.131-140). New York: Routledge.


  • Gender
  • Achievement
  • Attainment
  • Boys
  • Girls
  • Social class
  • Ethnicity
  • Hong Kong
  • UK
  • England


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