We looked into the English Literature and Language specifications of the three main exam boards and found that female writers are represented by just 31% of texts across GCSE and A Level reading lists.
Texts by writers from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds have also been marginalised, with some A Level and GCSE modules offering only 5% of texts by authors from these backgrounds.
We have spoken to the main exam boards about this issue and each has expressed support for assessments reflective of our diverse society. The exam boards also made reference to restrictions created by the subject content requirements issued by the Department for Education which they must follow when structuring courses and picking set texts.
This is a real problem as it has led to reading lists unfairly weighted in favour of white, male writers which has in turn muted the voices of an integral part of our society, sending a message to students that these voices and narratives are not as valid.