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Literacy and gender

Girl & boy using tablet

National and international research has found gender to be associated with literacy engagement. Indeed, our research shows that the link between gender and literacy is deeply complex, with both many issues and many solutions. We continue to explore this through ongoing research but here are some of our findings.

Key statistics around gender

  • In 2022, fewer boys than girls said they enjoyed reading (45.6% vs. 54.9%). Boys who received FSMs had the lowest levels of reading enjoyment, with just 2 in 5 enjoying reading. Find out more.
  • More girls than boys said they read daily. Only 1 in 5 (20.6%) of boys who receive Free School Meals (FSMs) read daily, compared with 1 in 3 of girls who don’t receive FSMs.
  • More girls than boys said that they enjoy writing in their free time, with over 2 in 5 girls saying this compared with 1 in 3 boys. Find out more.
  • Online communication can help support and empower some groups of young people: in 2022, more boys than girls feel that their online life opens up lots of possibilities for them. Find out more.

Latest research into gender

What else we know about literacy and gender

  • Nearly 1 in 2 children and young people who identify their gender as other than boy or girl say that they struggle to see themselves in what they read compared with 1 in 3 boys and girls. Find out more.
  • Half (49.9%) of boys who don’t enjoy reading agree that reading on screen is cooler than reading a print book. Find out more.
  • Half of all girls say that poor confidence is a barrier to them achieving their aspirations compared with 2 in 5 boys. Find out more.
Girl writing diary

Our work on gender