Girls and LGBT+ people still less likely to pursue careers in science and technology, study suggests

Louis Staples
Thursday 21 June 2018 14:30
news

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the days of “boy jobs” and “girl jobs” are behind us. But new statistics have revealed that, sadly, this is not the case.

New research from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) highlights a stark difference between boys and girls, as well as other demographic groups, considering careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The research revealed that just 26 per cent of girls are considering a career in STEM compared to 43 per cent of boys. Sadly, more than one in 10 girls thinking careers in the subject are more suited to boys.

The poll of 13-23 year-olds also showed it isn’t just girls who have fears over starting a career in STEM. Almost three quarters of those asked who identified as LGBT+ said they have never considered a career in engineering related fields, compared to 60 per cent of heterosexual respondents. Over a quarter of LGBT+ respondents opted against having a career in STEM due to worries they would be discriminated against.

In response to these inequalities, IET is now calling for action via a new campaign designed to remove pre-conceived industry stereotypes that might be stifling young people’s career choices within STEM.

Jo Foster, IET Diversity and Inclusion Manager, said:

Engineering in the UK suffers from a huge image problem. The research backs up fears that gender stereotyping within STEM careers is alive and well, potentially damaging the diversity of talent coming into the industry. 

This coupled with the fact that there is an estimated annual shortfall of 59,000 engineering and technicians to fill engineering roles, clearly demonstrates a need for action. 

Last year Theresa May’s husband, Phillip May, got into hot water after for saying there is such a thing as “boy's jobs” and “girl’s jobs” around the house. This prompted Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to retort: “I have a ‘girl job’ - it’s called running the country”.

Now that's the kind of thinking we can get behind.

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