The Employers Supporting Women & Girls in STEM Careers
Last week our client, R3, sponsored & exhibited at The STEM Women careers event in London. STEM Women run events for women studying STEM subjects & working in STEM, with the aim to connect them to inspirational speakers & meet potential employers.
So Why is it Important to Support Women in STEM?
Women make up only 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and men vastly outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college. The gender gaps are particularly high in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering.
Giving women equal opportunities to pursue — and thrive in — STEM careers helps narrow the gender pay gap, enhances women’s economic security, ensures a diverse and talented STEM workforce and prevents biases in these fields and the products and services they produce.
A typical STEM worker earns two-thirds more than those employed in other fields, according to Pew Research Center. And some of the highest-earning STEM occupations, such as computer science and engineering, have the lowest percentages of women workers.
Key factors perpetuating gender STEM gaps:
- Gender Stereotypes: STEM fields are often viewed as masculine, and teachers and parents often underestimate girls’ math abilities starting as early as preschool.
- Male-Dominated Cultures: Because fewer women study and work in STEM, these fields tend to perpetuate inflexible, exclusionary, male-dominated cultures that are not supportive of or attractive to women and minorities.
- Fewer Role Models: girls have fewer role models to inspire their interest in these fields, seeing limited examples of female scientists and engineers in books, media and popular culture. There are even fewer Black women role models in math and science.
- Math Anxiety: Teachers, who are predominantly women, often have math anxiety they pass onto girls, and they often grade girls harder for the same work, and assume girls need to work harder to achieve the same level as boys.
Here’s four companies in the UK who are contributing to the movement in different ways:
1) Booking.com has sponsored a Women in Technology scholarship
In October 2017, Booking.com announced that they would be providing a total of 15 scholarships to help women into technology across the University of Oxford and Delft University of Technology. The scholarships are all for a one year Master of Science course and will cover both university fees and living expenses. Booking.com strives for equal access and opportunity within the technology sector and hopes this initiative will encourage more women to consider a career in technology.
2) PWC Women in Tech shadowing program and school events
PwC has recruited Sheridan Ash as the leader of their Women in Technology initiative. She believes that the technology sector should reflect the society that it is creating technology for and therefore it needs to have a more balanced gender representation. As a result, PwC regularly host events for secondary school students to show young girls what a career in engineering could be like and encourage them to keep studying STEM subjects. They also organise an annual shadowing program for young women. It is available to those who are in their penultimate year of an undergraduate degree or their final year with a one year postgraduate placement confirmed. If they impress, they could be offered a placement at the company the following year.
3) BP partnered with the Modern Muse project to provide school-aged girls with female role models in STEM
Providing young girls with role models to inspire them is a crucial part of improving diversity in the technology industry. Modern Muse is a not-for-profit social enterprise that has been designed to inspire and engage the next generation of female business leaders. BP took the lead in putting the online application together for the project because they believe in the importance of young girls having role models in STEM careers to show them that women can be successful in this field. Modern Muse also provides a platform for young girls to interact with these women, which may influence their subject choices that will define their future careers.
4) Shell Women in a Technology and Engineering event for University students and recent graduates
Shell are already part of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women and have a dedicated internal support network dedicated to achieving gender equality, called Balance at Shell, which has over 2,000 members in the UK alone.
Alongside their internal support the company wants to actively recruit women into technology. Recently they hosted a “Women in Tech and Engineering” event, in collaboration with Campus Media, which targeted women who are currently at university or have recently graduated. The day aimed to inspire and equip women with the skills needed to pursue a career in these industries. The event consisted of networking, skills sessions and a panel from successful women.
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