Only 26% of STEM graduates are female. This shocking (yet probably unsurprising) number may well be increasing, but very slowly. There remains a long way to go before we realise a gender-balanced pipeline of fully literate school leavers and graduates entering the job market.
One of the main issues is a huge lack of representation in these fields. With men currently dominating the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths industries, there are far fewer female role models for young girls to look up to and aspire to be like. With a female family member, family friend, teacher or famous person in STEM for girls to admire, they are much more likely to consider a career in STEM an option for themselves. By normalising Women in STEM, roles in this industry suddenly feel a lot more achievable and realistic for schoolgirls.
At Technocamps, we have an increasing number of inspirational Role Models with very different careers, showcasing some of the traditional and less known roles that can be undertaken with a background in STEM. These careers range from STEM lawyer to company founder to cyber security specialist and many in between. We are always looking for more role models, so get in touch via info@technocamps if you are interested!
Our role models and other Women in STEM also come and chat at our GiST webinars, including The GEC’s very own Cat and Nic and a former NASA engineer. These events aim to encourage 11-16 year old girls to consider STEM careers by chatting to Women in STEM about their roles and career paths, and getting advice on deciding which route to take. The most common questions asked by the girls are what a typical day looks like, what the best parts of the job are, and what the worst parts of the job are. This suggests that a lack of information (or access to information) is a factor in girls’ consideration of STEM careers, and that more could be done to educate young people on the day-to-day of working life for Women in STEM.
Our International Women’s Day event welcomed a forensic scientist and CEO to over 70 registered pupils. They discussed their career choices, their role models, support networks and the challenges and advantages to working in the ever changing fields of Science and Technology.
It is also important to make STEM accessible and exciting to all. There are many stereotypes of boring Maths classes and ‘geeky’ professors, and – while Hidden Figures and Gravity were huge Hollywood blockbusters – films starring female scientists and engineers are still rare.
At Technocamps, we offer a range of webinars, activities and workshops for free for school children in Wales. Our online activity packs, games and quizzes teach children of all ages the Computing basics, requiring little or no support from parents or teachers. These fun activities make Computing and other STEM subjects accessible and feel less like school. With over 50% of our delivery team being female, our workshops, virtual clubs and live streams are also a relaxed platform where girls are more likely to engage and participate.
We have worked with 60,000 young people, 43% of whom are female. Girls are 25% more likely than boys to return after their first workshop. By shattering preconceived notions and stereotypes, the girls’ impression of and outlook on the subject are more positively impacted.
We have clearly come a long way in achieving gender equality in STEM, but there remains a great deal to be done.
Our next free GiST webinar is on 19th April, more info at bit.ly/AprilGiST[EU funds are having a positive impact on people, businesses and communities across Wales by raising skills and helping people into work. The Technocamps operation has been supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government, with the target of 66% of engaged pupils being female.]