To be more sustainable, we must first be more equal

WISE believes that greater equality is essential to achieve greater sustainability. The campaign for greater gender diversity in STEM, is calling on employers to build flexibility into the DNA of their policies to create different routes into STEM roles. The call came on the first of WISE’s two-day virtual conference; ‘Inclusive growth, transformative action, and driving sustainability’.


Kay Hussain, WISE CEO, speaking at the WISE Conference 2021

Kay Hussain, Chief Executive of WISE, the campaign for greater diversity in STEM, told delegates: “There is a growing recognition that to be more sustainable, we must first be more equal. The correlation between diversity and improved business performance has been proven; just as with gender balance, we know that sustainability is a key driver for business success in today’s world and we must embrace it together.”

With the pandemic creating the opportunity to rethink and rebuild in a more sustainable way, and the UK Government setting out its ‘green industrial revolution 10 point plan’ which it estimates will create 250,000 jobs, WISE wants to see more women given the opportunity to play their part.

Kay said: “We must engage young people, especially girls, and showcase the exciting and fulfilling opportunities available in sustainability-focussed STEM. We need to leverage the enthusiasm and excitement which young leaders such as Greta Thunberg have inspired and show girls that careers in STEM really can change the world. Many of the role models on our WISE platform – My Skills My Life – cite improving the world as their key driver.

“We also need to provide a platform for female leaders, showcase relatable role models, provide opportunities for development and ensure that women have a voice and a seat at the table. These are all essential components if we are going to make a sustainable difference.”

In 2019, WISE announced that 1 million women worked in core STEM roles, the organisation now wants to see 30% of women in STEM, a target it believes is achievable for all organisations from schools, universities to businesses and Government.

Kay concluded: “We need a collaboration of the best possible talent at all levels to tackle the climate emergency we face. Sustainability impacts us all, we need everyone on board to work together to achieve a desirable outcome. A gender balanced, diverse and inclusive workplace, which represents all parts of society, is now more important than ever before; without it we will miss out on potentially game changing talent.”

Day two of the WISE conference will take place on Tuesday 9 March, full details can be found at: https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/what-we-do/wise-conference/

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