Journalist Kate Russell to present – ‘Why aren’t more girls taking up stem subjects?’

Journalist Kate Russell is to give a talk about – why aren’t more girls taking up stem subjects? – At the University of Lincoln as part of the annual Glanville lecture. The Eleanor Glanville Centre is an interdisciplinary centre for inclusion, diversity and equality at the University.

Known for being a regular on the BBC’s technology programme Click, she has also won multiple awards for best technology blog and featured in the top 50 most influential women in UK IT by Computer Weekly magazine two years running.

The event will take place in the Isaac Newton Building lecture theatre on Thursday 4th April at 6pm, with a wine reception at 7. It’s free but booking is essential.

She will speak about the under-representation of women in STEM professions – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, despite them being 46% of the UK workforce.

Government figures show that only 15.5% of UK STEM jobs are filled by women, excluding medical professions, and that figure almost half’s to 8% when you look at engineering jobs. The number of women working in the tech sector has fallen also from 17% to 16%.

However, research conducted by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills found that 49% of women will hold a degree-level qualification compared to just 44% of males by 2020.

And that girls are currently outperforming boys in GCSEs and A-levels, with more women graduating from university than men. Although only 12% of engineering and technology undergraduates are female.

One of the main issues is known as the pipeline issue (leaky pipeline), where women will discontinue their educational or career paths, resulting in an under-representation in STEM fields.

Efforts to overcome the leaky pipeline involve creating educational opportunities that appeal to young girls.

The Newton academy, created as part of the University’s Athena Swan project, run a series of Saturday morning science- and technology-themed workshops for 10 – 14-year-olds, consisting of hands-on activities and projects to inspire and enthuse the next generation of female scientists and engineers.

The Academy aims to inspire and encourage girls to develop their confidence, their enthusiasm for STEM, essential problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.

They hope to challenge any preconceptions that may prevent them considering post-16 study in STEM subjects and to pursue science and technology careers.