Government action on encouraging more women into STEM careers

By February 22, 2019 Press Releases

The Government has laid out plans to encourage more women to consider pursuing a career in STEM. Answering a parliamentary written question, Government Minister, Nick Gibb MP, set out a list of commitments the Government has made to help improve the number of females studying STEM subjects and raising awareness of STEM careers.

The commitments include:

  • An £84 million programme to improve computing teaching and the advanced maths premium, encouraging more schools and colleges to teach pupils maths post 16;
  • investing in a Stimulating Physics Network which has a programme dedicated to increasing the number of girls studying physics A level;
  • launching a Gender Balance in Computing Pilot Programme, identifying effective interventions that schools can implement to improve girls’ take-up of computer science GCSE and A level;
  • funding at least 500 Careers Leader training bursaries for schools and colleges in 2018/19 and 2019/20 and doubling the number of Careers Hubs from 20 to 40 in 2019; and
  • supporting a nationwide STEM Ambassadors programme, 44 per cent of whom are women, to engage young people to increase their interest and awareness of the range of careers that STEM qualifications offer.

The Government has also called to tackle girls’ misconception of STEM subjects, following research that found girls are substantially less likely than boys to consider taking STEM subjects at A Level. More information on this research can be found here.

 

The full parliamentary written question can be found below:

STEM Subjects: Females
Department of Education
20 February 2019

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to encourage more young women to consider entering careers in STEM.

Nick Gibb: The Government announced substantial spending commitments in the Autumn Budget 2017 on maths, digital and technical education. The Department is funding programmes to increase the take-up and better teaching of maths, science and computing in schools. These include a new £84 million programme to improve computing teaching and the advanced maths premium, to encourage more schools and colleges to teach pupils maths post 16.

The Department is committed to addressing low female participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and, in particular, improving girls’ take-up of maths, computing and physics. Not all STEM subjects have a gender imbalance, and entries by girls to science A levels have increased by 14,822 (27%) comparing 2010 to 2018. However, physics take-up is notably low and the Department has invested in the Stimulating Physics Network, which has a programme dedicated to increasing the number of girls studying physics A level.

The Department will be launching a Gender Balance in Computing Pilot Programme, to identify effective interventions that schools can implement to improve girls’ take-up of computer science GCSE and A level, as part of the £84 million investment to improve teaching of computing and drive up participation in computer science.

The Department has committed to improving STEM careers advice in schools. The Government’s careers strategy asks that STEM experiences, such as with employers and apprenticeships, are built into school career programmes. The Department is also funding at least 500 Careers Leader training bursaries for schools and colleges in 2018/19 and 2019/20 and doubling the number of Careers Hubs from 20 to 40 in 2019.

The Government is also supporting the STEM Ambassadors programme, a nationwide network of over 30,000 volunteers from a wide range of employers. STEM Ambassadors, 44% of whom are women, engage with young people to increase their interest and awareness of the range of careers that STEM qualifications offer.[1]

 

[1] House of Commons, 20 February 2019, link.




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