WISE calls on industry to inspire girls to choose STEM roles
Girls need to understand the difference a STEM career can have on society and see role models
WISE launches online career resource to help it reach 200,000 girls
Shortage of 173,400 STEM workers across the UK at a cost of £1.5bn per year
As WISE, the campaign to improve gender balance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), launches a new online game called My Skills My Life, it is calling on industry to help change the way girls see STEM subjects and how they relate to careers that make a difference to the world. The call comes in response to research showing serious gaps in STEM roles; a recent survey of HR Directors suggests there is a shortage of 173,400 STEM workers across the UK, costing the economy £1.5bn each year1.
Helen Wollaston, Chief Executive Officer for WISE, explains: “At A Level, only one in ten computer science students and one in five physics students are female2. When you take out health, fewer than 1 in 5 of science, technology and engineering jobs in the UK are held by women. We simply have to get better at showing girls that maths, science and technology open doors to exciting, well-paid jobs where they can make a real difference to the world.”
My Skills My Life, for girls between 11-19, was developed to address the stereotype that science, engineering and technology are more suited to boys than girls. The game helps girls to identify their personality types, shows them the types of roles in STEM that they could do, and matches them to role models who share their personality type to learn more about STEM careers.
Helen continues: “The game uses mobile technology to connect girls with young women who have found great jobs using science, technology or maths. It is a simple, modern solution, accessible to every teenage girl in the country.”
WISE is calling for more role models and for businesses to help spread the word about My Skills My Life to help it achieve its ambition to reach 200,000 girls. As well as its new game, WISE, supported by its members, provides schools with career workshops delivered by real-life female scientists, technologists and engineers.
Jacqueline de Rojas, CBE, President of techUK: “There appears to be an appetite for change in various sectors, some more so than others. By getting behind campaigns such as WISE’s, we build on this appetite and put into play the things that research is now showing can make a difference, from providing more role models for young girls to changing the language used in job descriptions and adverts. These professions are creating some of the biggest changes that our society has seen and we need to excite and inspire our future generations so that they want to be part of them.”
Teacher and Executive Director of Specialisms and Lead for Women in STEM at UTC Reading, Stephanie Mitchell, adds: “For us, working with WISE comes at a time that is so vital in addressing the gender balance within STEM subjects. In the current climate, it is essential that we are providing our girls with role models and routes for progression that challenge stereotypes and push perceptions. The new digital platform developed by WISE allows us to celebrate female talents and empower our girls to be whatever they want to be.”
The resource has been developed with generous support from sponsors including:
Broadcom, Goldman Sachs Gives, BAE Systems, Network Rail, the UK Space Agency, techUK, and the National Skills Academy for Rail.
2 WISE analysis of 2018 exam results show:
- Three times as many boys take Physics A level as girls
- Only one in ten of students studying Computer Science A level are girls
- Only 11.9% of girls, compared to 17.8% of boys, go from their GCSEs to get an A Level Maths
- Only 2.6% of girls, compared to 8.8% of boys go from their GCSEs to get an A Level Physics