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Females make up only 14% of the STEM (science, engineering, technology and maths) workforce in the UK.

Some still report that females are discouraged from working in STEM related careers; either by misconceptions or lack of confidence that girls have regarding their own capabilities, particularly in maths or by perceptions that parents have about STEM careers, which are influencing the qualification and career choices of young females.

At undergraduate level, according to Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, females dominated in subjects allied to medicine, Veterinary Science and Agriculture, whereas males dominate in Engineering and Technology, Computer Science and Building and Planning.

Why is this the case?

It’s probably the case that there is no singular reason for females not choosing either further study or careers with STEM industry, but rather a combination of factors.  For example, where young people are not exposed to female role models through media, film and games then it may be the case that they come to believe (albeit unconsciously) that certain careers are not for women. Equally, if parents, teachers and careers advisers promote careers to young women which they themselves see as ‘gender suitable’ than a certain amount of gender inequality within STEM is likely.

Why does it matter if females are not going into STEM careers?

For one thing, many STEM careers pay very well in addition to being highly rewarding careers. If females are not pursuing these careers, then they are missing out.  Equally problematic is that if females are not represented in STEM roles in reality, then they are perhaps less likely to be represented through media. There is also an argument that research will be driven towards solutions based on males rather than females where women are absent (particularly in academic research).

This story is from the Notgoingtouni website, by Lynette Daly, for the full story click here