“I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.” – Marie Curie, Physicist & the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.
Throughout history, pioneering women have successfully transformed the world we live in through science and research, breaking the boundaries of expectations and changing outdated perceptions about what women can accomplish.
However, over a century after scientist Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the above quote still rings true to many modern women building a career in the still largely male dominated STEM industries.
What is STEM and why is it important?
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Widely referred to by the acronym STEM, these four academic disciplines are major contributors to the future prosperity of the UK. These are the four key drivers we must invest in and grow skills in to help the UK remain a world leader in the fields of research and technology.
The UK Government has expressed its commitment to inspiring interest in STEM subjects from school age, widely backing campaigns and initiatives to increase participation throughout the education system.
But despite the Government’s desire to grow a dynamic, innovative economy through STEM, the UK still has a long way to go when it comes to equality and fair representation in these fields.
So what’s the problem?
At the time of writing, women make up just 24% of all people employed in STEM industries.
It is clear that this under-representation begins at school level, with boys hugely outnumbering girls in core STEM subjects at the age of 16. In 2017, just 35% of girls chose Maths, Physics, Computing or a technical vocational qualification, compared to 94% of boys.
But why does this matter? This trend carries through from school to higher education, and eventually to the workplace.
Research into the impacts of diversity in the workplace consistently highlights the benefits of gender balance within organisations, including increased employee engagement, creativity, satisfaction and loyalty.
And what can be done?
Although much has been done already to encourage more women into STEM, the workplace environment for those already employed in the industry can prove challenging.
As a female working in a male dominated environment, issues such as discrimination, gender pay gaps and a “macho culture” are often factors that drive women out of STEM careers, leading to a high turnover of female staff.
As a result of this, women are increasingly seeking support and buy-in from their organisations to improve workplace equality through the provision of adequate training and progression opportunities.
In response to this demand, many organisations are launching dedicated Women in Leadership programmes to support and empower women’s professional development.
How can we help?
In response to this training need, Understanding ModernGov has recently launched a new CPD training programme designed specifically to help women improve their assertiveness, communication and leadership skills in the workplace.
‘Confident Communication for Women in the Workplace’ has proved one of our most popular open courses in 2018, attracting a huge variety of professional women from across the public and private sectors.
Due to overwhelming demand from organisations looking to encourage more women into leadership roles, we are also pleased to announce we are running this course for a number of clients as bespoke In-House training sessions for their staff.
Want to find out more?
If you would like to discuss any of the details you have read in this blog; including our ‘Confident Communications for Women in the Workplace’ In-House training course, we’d be delighted to help.
We can run this course for you In-House, at your organisation or a venue of your choice, on a date to suit you. Bringing your team together for a group training event is a great team building exercise, and we work closely with you to develop a bespoke training agenda that is completely tailored to your organisation’s requirements.
Contact our In-House training team on [email protected] or call 0800 542 9414 to find out more.
Get involved in the conversation!
What do you think can be done to help bridge the gender gap in STEM careers and industries? What advice can you give other education providers and employers to encourage more women and girls to pursue a career in STEM?
We’d love to hear from you. You can tweet us using #UMGTraining @UModernGov.