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Report sheds light on how to encourage women to take up STEM careers

A new report looks at why women get involved in STEM careers Photo: Anglia Ruskin University

Phrases such as Making a difference, solving problems or simplifying complex issues could be the best ways to encourage more women to get involved in science careers.

A team of female researchers at Anglia Ruskin found that language has a key role to play in getting women and girls to get involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) jobs.

The research team carried out interviews with women from 28 different companies, to find out why they'd taken up their chosen career path.

Astronomer Maggie Aderin Pocock was inspired by making her own telescope as a child Credit: PA Images

The study found that words such as “innovation” were associated with high profile Techleaders most of whom are men.

The women interviewed said their roles included problem solving for customers. They also said they motivated not by individual glory but by the idea of making a difference "whether this was enabling customers to have a better experience or finding a cure to a disease."

Women also found self-fulfilment and being of value to society as key benefits of working in STEM.

Words that inspire women and girls Credit: Anglia Ruskin University

“There is a significant gap in support for women who do not feel accepted by their colleagues, and employers must also be aware of the importance of flexible career paths and influential opportunities to encourage more female innovators.

“I hope that our project can shed some light on the reasons why too few women are innovators in STEM roles currently, and provide solutions which will encourage more women to begin these careers in the future.”

– Professor Lynn Martin
A school science lesson Credit: ITV News Anglia

The report recommended doing more with schools such as outreach programmes and ensuring girls meet female role models.

It also suggests that the Government should provide more cash to fund outreach programmes.

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