Spain: Rate of Women Students Dropping Out Marks 9.6% Record Low in 2021

Spain flag in Madrid

The number of early school dropouts among female students in Spain dropped below ten percent in 2021, marking a national record, official data shows.

According to data from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MEFP), early educational-training dropouts for women students between the ages of 18 and 24 is 9.4 percent – 1.7 percentage points below the last year’s average of women from EU’s early school leaving. This figure has improved significantly, as in 2011, there was a 10.4 discrepancy between rates in Spain and in the EU, Erudera.com reports.

“The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is committed, like the government, to equality between men and women. One of the basic pillars to advance in this line is education. We must help girls, young women, adults, to be brave, accept mistakes, feel worthy of success, trust our knowledge and, above all, love ourselves imperfect. This change of emotional culture requires the participation of the whole of society”, the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Pilar Alegría, said.

Furthermore, girls made up 48.6 percent of all students in Secondary Education and 53.7 percent of those in higher education institutions such as universities, colleges, and vocational training in the 2019/2020 academic year.

However, the enrolments differ in fields of study as in science programs they make up for 47.5 percent of all students, followed by 58.2 percent in Humanities and Social Sciences, while Art-related programs counted 72.1 percent of female students.

As per Vocational Training, 29.8 percent of all students in Basic FP were women, followed by 43.8 percent in Intermediate Vocational Training and 48 percent in Higher Degree. Like in Bachelor studies, women favor particular fields of study more, as the following data shows:

Vocational ProgramPercentage Points
Health Studies75 percent
Textile, Clothing, and Leather77 percent
Sociocultural and Community Services86.6 percent
Personal Image88.3 percent
Information Technology and Communications7.7 percent
Mechanical Manufacturing4.1 percent
Electricity and Electronics3.5 percent
Transportation and Vehicle Maintenance3.4 percent

Although there is a noticeable difference in interest depending on the program, women in Spain make up the majority of undergraduate university students – 55.7 percent in total. More specifically, In Education, they make up 77.9 percent of all students, 71.8 percent of those enrolled in Health and Social Services. However, in Engineering, industry, and construction, only 29.1 percent of students are women, and further less (13.4 percent) in Computer Sciences.

To tackle the issue of uneven enrollments, the Education Ministry has launched the ‘ STEAM Alliance for female talent: Girls at the foot of science’, – a program that seeks to promote the vocations of women in the STEAM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and art).

Moreover, women surpass the number of male workers as they make up 67.1 percent of academic workers in the country. The percentages of female teachers are higher in lower education levels, such as kindergartens (97.7 percent) and Primary school (82.1 percent). In Universities, however, female professors only make up 42.9 percent, although this figure has increased by nearly six percentage points in the last decade (from 37.2 percent).

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