Women in STEM

Charlie Ball, Head of higher education intelligence
June, 2016

Incredibly, just 13% of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs are filled by women – but a new campaign aims to plug this extraordinary gender gap

Women in STEM, which is spearheaded by Mediaplanet, celebrates the remarkable impact that women have had within the sector and highlights the vital role that women can play in securing its future. More than 70% of jobs in 2018 will require STEM skillsets, which shows the importance of inspiring girls to ignore outdated gender stereotypes and embark on an exciting STEM career.

What's more, studies also show that enabling women to meet their full professional potential could add a staggering £14trillion to annual GDP by 2025 - proving that this isn't just a diversity issue; it's an economic one too.

What types of roles do women typically go for within STEM? Should this change?

With the exception of healthcare, where many entrants use their biology qualifications, women don't tend to go into technical roles. Instead, they typically work in business support and services such as consultancy, analysis, marketing, public relations (PR) and design.

Employers have started to address this problem, which is having a positive impact. However, there remains a long way to go to restore equality. As a greater number of women go into technical roles, more women will train for these types of jobs - and the career path will become a widely accepted one.

In time, we hope to be in a position where we don't have to develop campaigns like these to attract women into STEM.

How can we inspire younger girls into STEM?

Role models are a great way forward. It's much more compelling to show women actually doing and enjoying the job than overload younger girls with information.

Many women don't view STEM as a viable career option, so the more we can do to demonstrate it's a perfectly normal choice for bright, capable, intelligent young women like them, more women will go into it.

We also need to ensure that the workplace culture of organisations offering STEM roles is a welcoming one for women.

What skillset can women bring into STEM?

There isn't anything that a man can do in a STEM job that a woman can't - and vice versa.

While some stereotypes exist, such as women making better communicators than men, women should be looking at STEM roles with the realisation that they can offer the same high level of skills and attributes their male counterparts can.

There isn't anything in the sector that women should feel they can't do.

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