Edinburgh Technopole to inspire young women into STEM careers

Published: 22 February 2016

The initiative has been organised by Edinburgh Technopole to help with the ‘leaking pipe’ problem which the UK is currently battling against.

On Tuesday 8th March 2016, female pupils from Newbattle, Penicuik and Lasswade High Schools will be invited to Bush House at Edinburgh Technopole to hear about the careers and academic studies of four renowned women currently working in STEM occupations and see first-hand the exciting and varied careers available to STEM graduates.

Of the women who graduated in 2015, 39% had a STEM degree and women made up the majority (51%) of those who graduated with a STEM degree. However, the latest figures (August 2015) from WISE – a campaign to promote women in science, technology and engineering – show that women only make up 14.4% of all people currently employed in STEM occupations.

There are also wide disparities within STEM occupations. For example, 63.4% of Associate Health Professionals are women, compared to only 8.2% of Engineering Professionals.

In 2006 the Women and Work Commission found that unleashing women’s full potential could be worth £23 billion a year to the Exchequer. Meanwhile, a 2015 report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills found that 43% of vacancies in STEM roles are hard to fill due to a shortage of applicants with the required skills.

There also remains a confidence issue. At the age of 12 or 13, more girls than boys rate science as their favourite subject, and girls’ achievement in science is higher than boys’ at all key stages6. But girls are less likely than boys to aspire towards science-related careers and women graduates are more likely to have chosen subjects which lead to lower earnings. A study published in 2015 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found girls still lack the confidence to pursue high-paid careers in science and technology, despite their school results being as good as – or better than – boys’ results.

Achieving STEM diversity is incredibly important for equal opportunities and will help to solve the chronic skills gap that the UK currently faces.

Confirmed speakers are Julie Wood from Benchmark Vaccines Limited, Dr Janine Robb from Quotient, Katherine Garden from Xilinx and Dr Nicola Stock from The Roslin Institute.

Judith Sanderson, Edinburgh Technopole Park Manager, said:

I think encouraging girls into STEM careers is so important in our modern world and although as a country we have made progress over the past few years, the problem remains. More than 50% of STEM graduates are female, but this translates into only 14.4% of the workforce. This ‘leaking pipe’ is a huge issue and ‘plugging’ it has untold benefits to society. I think it is crucial that we do whatever we can to show girls the varied and exciting careers they can have within STEM occupations and I hope this afternoon will do just that.

For further information please contact:
Sarah Robertson
t: 0131 603 8996
e: sarah.robertson@orbit-comms.co.uk 


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