Top physicist leads calls for more female engineers and scientists
Leading physicist and women-in-STEM campaigner Dr Jess Wade says we must challenge the stereotypes that stop girls from choosing subjects likes physics and further maths because the world needs them now more than ever.
Dr Wade will be talking to teachers at SeeWomen on 6 November, a special Year of Engineering event that includes a live stage show to inspire 12- to 13-year-old girls to consider a career in engineering and science – industries that are disproportionately male dominated.
She said: “I am excited about anything that we can do to better support teachers in their science teaching. Engineering and science are full of phenomenal women, and it is brilliant that everyone is starting to celebrate them. We have to work together to challenge the stereotypes that stop girls from choosing to study subjects like physics and further maths – the world needs them now more than ever.”
Women make up only 15% of engineering students at UK universities and less than 15% of all STEM jobs are done by women – despite these industries playing a pivotal role in shaping the technology and infrastructure that everyone uses.
SeeWomen is a unique collaboration between Siemens and the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) that aims to tackle the UK’s shortage of women engineers. Approximately 250 girls – from independent GSA schools and their partner schools in the state sector – are attending the special show on 6 November. The event is part of the Year of Engineering, a Government campaign which is bringing young people face to face with inspiring engineering experiences throughout 2018.
The show is fronted by BAFTA-nominated science presenter Fran Scott, and takes place at Siemen’s flagship building, The Crystal, at Victoria Dock in London.
The girls will be taken on an interactive, energetic, journey as they investigate the world of science, technology, engineering and maths – meeting and learning about contemporary women engineers and the contribution they make to shaping the world around us. There are live experiments and thought-provoking activities to empower young girls to have the confidence to set future goals and pursue their dreams. The show is particularly adept at inspiring girls who don’t consider themselves ‘scientists’ or who have no clear career vision. It’s designed to shake up their thinking and challenge their idea about what an engineer or a scientist actually does.
Teachers will hear from Dr Wade, Siemens managers and others about why it’s important for more girls to work in science and engineering. They will share resources, methodologies and contacts so they can run their own SeeWomen stage shows in schools around the country, with the support of local Siemens STEM ambassadors.
Minister for the Year of Engineering, Nusrat Ghani, said:
“Engineers are at the heart of designing the infrastructure and technology that we all use on a daily basis, so it’s crucial that people of different genders, ethnicities and social backgrounds are part of shaping a world that works for everyone.
“That’s why Government is so proud to be working with organisations like Siemens to bring young people from all backgrounds face to face with engineering role models, engaging with schools in diverse areas and celebrating the achievements of the women blazing a trail in the industry.”
Girls’ Schools Association president, Gwen Byrom, said:
“The training is a vital part of the SeeWomen project. We want to create a snowball effect that gathers momentum and reaches more and more girls from as wide a variety of schools as possible.”
Siemens’ relationship with the GSA has enabled over 50 showcases for both independent and state schools, with a current engagement level of over 2,100 young girls now involved in the SeeWomen movement.
Brenda Yearsley, Siemens UK Education Manager, says:
“Siemens was very proud to launch our very own SeeWomen initiative on International Women’s Day in 2016. The project was created especially for girls to place a spotlight on modern female role models within Siemens industry and beyond. It is vitally important for girls and young women to aspire to highly-paid and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and maths – not just to remedy the persistent lack of diversity in the industry but also to ensure that women are central to shaping the world we live in for future generations.”