Breaking the STEM Gender Stereotype

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Never before has there been a stronger push for women to opt for STEM related careers and for girls to choose STEM subjects to study. Recent research shows that females are still chronically under-represented across all fields of science, with the UK having the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe of less than 10 percent.

STEM jobs have been growing at three times the pace of any other fields in the last 10 years in the UK. These professions have the brightest outlook in terms of job prospects and salary and a chance to build a better future for the next generation.

This independent school near Haslemere is actively encouraging children to consider Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects (STEM) to help them access a wide choice of exciting careers. Co-educational schools have a responsibility to inspire girls and boys to see STEM based careers as an equal option to both sexes. Girls need to be encouraged to acknowledge the relevance of STEM careers to them, while boys need to be educated to appreciate that girls are equally capable of success in STEM industries, thus ensuring the future STEM workplace is evenly represented by women and men.

In all areas of the curriculum, a good co-educational school should be committed to ensuring pupils achieve the best they can, excel at whichever subjects they love or for which they have a talent, regardless of historic subject stereotyping. Whatever academic topic is being taught, parents and educators have a responsibility to encourage girls and boys to understand the benefits of working together and of recognising the potential for mixed teams to achieve more than any individual could.

One of the key benefits of this exercise has been its ability to open up the boys’ eyes to comprehending that all careers are equally open to both genders. This has helped to raise awareness among the boys of the valued role that girls can play in the work environment, discouraging the sexist attitudes that have been a feature of some STEM industries in the past.

A STEM qualification opens up a world of exciting career paths to follow and people with STEM qualifications are in demand. Through a quality STEM programme children not only learn about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics processes and practices, beyond these STEM disciplines they also grow to deliver competencies such as collaboration and communication skills which are fundamental to success in their chosen career.

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