Coláiste Choilm students Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan want to do further testing on their winning project to help combat gender stereotyping in schools.

Last Friday (10 January), Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan were awarded the top prize at the 2020 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE).

The two fourth-year students from Coláiste Choilm in Co Cork took home a €7,500 prize for their project entitled, ‘A statistical investigation into the prevalence of gender stereotyping in five to-seven-year-olds and the development of an initiative to combat gender bias’.

Speaking to about the project, Harris said: “We went to 376 students across five different schools. The results showed us that boys were limiting girls’ abilities, while girls were not limiting the abilities of either gender.

“With our results, we developed a resource kit to implement in schools to help combat gender stereotyping. With our resource kit, we would like to go back and do further testing to see if it’s actually an effective way to combat gender bias.”

As well as winning a cash prize, Harris and O’Sullivan will represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) later this year. They will also attend the 62nd annual London International Youth Science Forum later in the year.

BTYSTE head judge Prof Joe Barry said: “Cormac and Alan’s findings are important, as intervention typically focuses on girls, but the project recognises the need to focus on all children, boys and girls, from a young age in order to combat the development of gender stereotyping.”


Words by Kelly Earley