These are the latest statistics on women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the UK. These figures provide a snapshot of the current position, from classroom to boardroom, based on data available in November 2012. 

The positive news is that more young people of both sexes are studying STEM subjects and at GCSE girls are as likely as boys to do so. However, female participation drops off at ‘A’ Level, particularly in Physics, and very few females take up STEM apprenticeships. This reduces the talent pipeline going into the STEM workforce – only 13% of all STEM jobs in the UK are occupied by women. Fewer women in the workforce means STEM industries struggle to find women for senior roles or board appointments. It also means fewer women setting up STEM businesses – which in turns limits the potential for economic growth. 

If we can turn this situation around, it will open up new and rewarding career pathways for women as well as bringing huge benefits to STEM industries and to the UK economy. Our vision is that at least 30% of the UK STEM workforce will be female by 2020, but we cannot do it alone. 

Helen Wollaston 
Director, WISE 


With thanks to our sponsors Intel Corporation  and SEPnet and to our researchers Lisa Buckner, University of Leeds and Sue Botcherby, Director of Applied Research Associates.