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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Alice England2Today, 11 February, we are marking the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

According to UNESCO, less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women (UNESCO, 2021) and following their STEM report (2017) “female students represent only 35% of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields of study at higher education level globally”.  In the UK, though the overall percentage of women who hold STEM degrees is gradually rising, the split is still 26%. In the STEM workforce field, women represent the 24%.  Based on the data trends from the period 2009-2019, “it is estimated that by 2030, they expect to reach over 29% of women in the STEM workforce” (STEMWomen, 2021). 

These figures highlight the need to promote science and gender equality and encourage more women to work in these fields. Some of the key factors that maintain gender STEM inequality, are the gender stereotypes and the fact that girls have fewer role models, in a -widely acknowledged- male dominated field. This is precisely why the presence and participation of women should be reinforced.

At Redmaids’ High we pride ourselves on empowering our girls and getting them in Science. Our commitment to STEM is showcased in our exceptionally enhanced and diverse curriculum, our unique facilities and the excellence of our teaching staff. It is part of our school's values to inspire students to forge a future of lifelong learning, in all its guises.  

Dr Alice England, PhD in Biomedical Science and Assistant Head in Redmaids’ High Senior School, shared with us her thoughts on STEM careers: “As a Science teacher with experience of working in a research environment, I am in a privileged position not only to bring real-life experiences into the classroom, but also to act as a role model for students aspiring to a career in STEM. No matter which path our students aspire to follow, we are on hand to support and encourage, providing additional opportunities to feed their curiosity and ultimately prepare them for the world of STEM careers. Our students never question their abilities in this area, as it is such an integral part of their every-day curriculum. They see success in STEM every day; in lessons, in RED Talks, in their teachers. There is no doubt that they will excel in these careers. Experiences such as the Industrial Cadets engineering scheme, the CyberFirst challenge, the Biology Olympiads all celebrate successes in STEM.

Gender diversity in STEM allows for varied perspectives, creativity and problem-solving skills to be brought to the forefront. Students are encouraged to develop these skills across their subjects, making them assets to any team they join and contribute to. In a small way, I hope being able to share my positive experiences of working in biomedical research and being able to demonstrate a genuine love of STEM in the classroom helps to build student confidence in this area, and inspires them to investigate it as a future career.”

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Date Posted: 11 February, 2022

Articles for: Junior Senior Sixth Form, Sixth Form, Senior, STEM, careers

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