ad // There have been plenty of women in STEM initiatives over the years, from events, lectures, medical conferences, campaigns and more, to help inspire and encourage women to start a career in any of the male-dominated STEM industries. It’s obvious that times have changed pretty dramatically and therefore, women in STEM isn’t the big shock that it once was.
STEM education simply means educating people in either of the four disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathemetics. And there are many different routes you can go down with each of these disciplines. From science teacher, aerospace engineer, biomechanics, data scientist, the list is endless for STEM related career paths.
Since 2016, the number of women working in STEM fields has increased by 216,552, which has taken the total number over the 1 million mark for the first time ever! This means women now make up 24% of the STEM workforce in the UK. Incredible, right?
However, in the UK, women make up only 23.5% of engineering graduates and 19.4% of computer science graduates. Compared to medicine-based subjects, where women make up a whopping 79% of the graduates, it appears that there’s still a little way to go to help and encourage younger women to consider a career in STEM.
I have no background or education in STEM, apart from basic GCSE’s. I was never any good at math or science, so I doubt a career in STEM would ever have been an option for me, even if I wanted it!
However, my favorite sport is a pioneering force within the engineering and mechanics industry, so every weekend when I sit down to watch it, I’m faced with the lack of women within it. Formula 1.
It’s been great to see more and more women appear within the Formula 1 paddock and within the teams, doing everything from presenting to development driver roles, mechanics and more. But there’s still a significant lack of women within this industry, which ultimately, boils down to the STEM based subjects.
So how can we get more women interested and motivated to want to start a career in STEM? Well, I think starting from a young age and presenting options to younger girls is a great place to start.
Here are some simple ways to inspire young girls into a career in STEM:
Shatter stereotypes and gender roles from a young age
Long gone are the days of boys wearing blue, girls wearing pink, boys playing with their trucks and girls playing with their dolls. Allow children to be interested in whatever they want and allow them to explore whatever draws them in. We can’t stop girls playing with cars or being interested in gadgets, as it’s only reinforcing this age-old narrative that those things are for boys.
Make engineering and technology fun
If you have a young girl who is finding STEM based toys, games and shows interesting, then lean into that and help her to discover more. Make it fun and inspiring for her to learn and discover, perhaps read books based on inspiration females in STEM from over the years or make up games together that make it more fun.
Introduce them from a young age
Another thing to do with a young child who is already finding it interesting is to introduce them first-hand to STEM based things from a young age. Taking the Motorsport example, let them watch it from a young age. Or if you know someone that works in a cool STEM based industry, perhaps ask them if you and your child could have a look around.
Find STEM based after-school clubs
Allow her to branch out and spread her wings and continue to discover what she loves on her own. After-school clubs for STEM based activities is a great way to do that, as it leaves her in the driving seat with no influence from you. She can learn and discover on her own – which is a great skill to learn for her future in a STEM based career!
STEM based careers can open up a world of wonderful and exciting opportunities, so encouraging the next generation of girls to consider these as an option is really important.
Of course, it should always be up to them of what to do and if a career in STEM isn’t what they want, then that’s absolutely fine. But it’s important now, going forward, that every girl should know it’s an option.