International Day of Women and Girls in in Science, Technology and Innovation
The 11th February 2021 marks the 6th International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Technology and Innovation. Today, we take the opportunity to celebrate all those who work in these sectors and equally, all those who are working hard to bring through the next generation of girls in STEM. As a woman in technology myself, I see how so much has been done; but I recognise that the world of technology still has a long way to go before it is equal. At the moment the industry is made up of over 75% men, with women taking up a small amount of positions.
Women have made ground breaking progress in science and technology over the years but how do we encourage more girls to embrace opportunities entering Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers? According to UNESCO’s Science Report, only 33 per cent of researchers are women, despite the fact that they represent 45 and 55 per cent of students at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels of study respectively and 44 per cent of those enrolled in PhD programmes.
Furthermore, according to a study conducted by Microsoft, most girls (72%) believe it is important to have a career that directly helps the world; only 37% believe STEM careers would allow them to do that. The good news is that the demand for STEM skills around the world continues to grow and actually, if we look at the Covid-19 pandemic, never has there been a more important time for girls to embrace STEM. It can change the world.
How we support our girls?
Female role models have such an important role on helping girls to grow their confidence and find their passions. Girls love to read or hear about women who have set up companies from scratch and are now running profitable businesses. This is just one simple way that we can empower others.
Do you have a daughter or know a young girl interested in technology?
Encourage her to stick with it! Too often, girls veer from their passions if they don't feel supported or have the right role models around them. Show them what is possible and today is the perfect day to do just that. Even better, speak to your school or college and ask if Jo Wimble-Groves can come and speak to the girls! This is what I love about my job. You can find me as a registered speaker on www.schoolspeakers.co.uk or please contact me directly.
In summary, today marks an important time to pause, celebrate and recognise the trailblazing women and girls who are making waves in our sectors and to thank those who led the path for us. I believe I have a personal duty to promote STEM careers to girls and to share what I have learnt along the way. Our girls love to hear from women who can use their own careers as a source of powerful inspiration. Encouraging girls to see all the benefits of careers in STEM might not happen overnight, but together, we can inspire one girl at a time.