Women in STEM: Empowerment in Employment

| Industrial Sector News

According to Motability specialist, Lookers, STEM industries continue to be gender biased.

The ratio of women taking jobs in technology is extremely low compared to men with statistics from 2017 showing that women made up only 23% of the STEM workforce.

According to a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a lack of skilled STEM workers is costing £1.5 billion annually. Despite this, only 9% of STEM apprentices are women.

To redress the balance, since 2012, there has been an increase in initiatives from schools in the UK to encourage women into STEM. Previously, female students reported avoiding STEM courses because of a lack of female role models to identify with. Exam boards have since introduced more content about women. Rosalind Franklin’s critical involvement in the understanding of DNA has been taught across the nation, which has been linked to this year’s A-level results which saw female students studying STEM courses (50.3%) outnumber male students (49.7%).

Also, Lookers launched a female apprenticeship scheme in 2018, the aim of which is to double the amount of female apprenticeships on their books and provide a positive environment to encourage and attract women to STEM.

Some women have said they have left male-dominant work environments like engineering due to pervasive masculine culture, noting that it was difficult to be taken seriously and to earn respect in such environments. Philanthropists keen to fix the gender gap in STEM industries have donated $25 million towards boosting girls’ interest by changing the narrative that they’re masculine careers, a move that’s expected to inspire girls to follow other successful women in the industry.

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