Do women care about STEM?
Any engineering event these days seems to have its 'cause-that-must-be-addressed'. Generally for the last few years this has been about the lack of children wanting to go to university to study science and engineering. It has been well documented that we are, apparently, producing only half the number of engineering graduates that we will need to fulfil demand for the next decade.
More recently it has occurred to the world of STEM that if we only have half of the population being interested in engineering - the male half - we have an obvious solution to the problem. Attract more girls. Stop making toys blue and pink and give all children equal levels of encouragement to make, design and discover.
The reason for bringing this up is that this coming Sunday (8th March 2015) is International Women's Day. It is the culmination of a week of events aimed at essentially inspiring women to be what they want to be without being tied down by gender or societal prejudices. Which is all well and good and how it should be. There are over 300 events in the UK aimed at women in business, in the arts and culture, in sport, in politics.......
So at this crucial time for UK's technology sector, where were the women in science and engineering? From these 300 events I picked out a debate about women in STEM at Queens University, Belfast, (although I confess my search wasn't definitive) but there was not too much more than that. Maybe there are just not enough existing women engineers to provide the inspiration to the next generation? Or maybe women don't think it is as important to have women in engineering as men do?
Or maybe it is an opportunity missed. Tim Fryer, Editor
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