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STEM Subjects: Females

Question for Department for Education

UIN 269798, tabled on 26 June 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of women taking up careers in STEM.

Answered on

5 July 2019

In order to increase the number of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries, we are encouraging more girls to take STEM subjects at school, college and university, as well as providing improved careers advice and awareness and working with the STEM sector to champion gender representation.

We announced substantial spending commitments in the Autumn Budget 2017 on maths, digital and technical education. We are funding programmes to increase the take-up of maths, such as the Advanced Maths Premium, and physics, through the Stimulating Physics Network, which has a specific strand focusing on increasing the number of girls in physics A level.

We are supporting better teaching of maths, science and computing in schools, including a new £84 million programme for computing teaching and participation. As part of this investment, we also launched the Gender Balance in Computing pilot programme this year, which aims to identify practical interventions that schools (at all stages, excluding post-16) can implement to improve girls’ participation in computing.

We have committed to improving STEM careers advice in schools in the Careers Strategy, including making sure that STEM encounters, such as with employers and apprenticeships, are built into school career programmes by updating school and college statutory guidance. We are also raising awareness of the range of careers that STEM qualifications offer, through programmes such as STEM ambassadors. 44% of these ambassadors are women.

Finally, we are taking steps to work with the sector through apprenticeships and using the employer Apprenticeships Diversity Champions Network, now employing 70 members, to champion gender representation in industries where improvement is needed.