There Are Better Days Ahead for Women in STEM

There Are Better Days Ahead for Women in STEM

Too many girls in the UK grow up believing that STEM is not for them.

According to studies, boys and girls start out with no apparent differences in aptitude for maths and science. In fact, girls shine more academically, including in STEM subjects.

However, girls tend to drop STEM subjects in adolescence, even though they do well in these subjects. Less than one-third of female students decide to pursue higher education degrees in engineering and mathematics. Although these may seem like wholly self-driven choices on the surface, it is clear that they are borne out of years of absorbing messages that diminish girls’ interest in the sciences.

In recent times, consistent and concerted efforts are being made towards making STEM careers more accessible and more women are finding relevance in STEM.

As a Tech recruiter for over 20 years, a steering committee member for Opening up Photonics and for The Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration and Advance Data Storage, I have seen women in STEM make tremendous contributions in their different fields and obliterate the perception that critical reasoning is gender-based. I believe that women in the field must become role models and mentors to young girls with sparks of interest in STEM.

The UKESF Scholarship program supports a growing number of female engineering students and in doing so is helping to expand the visibility, relevance and opportunity of STEM careers for young women in the UK.

As a UKESF scholar I feel as a member of a community. The scheme gave me the chance to connect to peers who without any pretentiousness are inspiring with their attitude towards Electronics. The program was crucial for my professional development; it opened doors to fields in Electronics that I did not know that I’d be so interested in.

The Need for a STEM Circle

Many women in STEM recognise that they had too few examples of successful women in STEM to look up to and aspire to be. So, they fought their way up through sheer strength and determination. One of the most powerful ways to encourage young women to pursue their interest in STEM is to create the awareness that there’s room for women to succeed in science and expose them to those already excelling in the industry. This is achieved when the UKESF in conjunction with the Enigma People Solutions support female students to attend the annual WES (Women’s Engineering Society) Student Conference.

The WES Student Conference has helped hundreds of participants to interact with other women in their fields. They find encouragement, learn from the speakers’ experiences, and exchange ideas among themselves. It feels good to have a circle that understands the hurdles of women in STEM.

One participant puts it this way;

                “Events like the WES Conference are crucial for connecting women in STEM and helping build our confidence in our studies and the workplace, empowering us to make a change from within the engineering industry, and leading the way for future female engineers. On top of providing an opportunity for women in STEM to network with each other, it gave us a platform to voice our thoughts, struggles, and visions for the future. This taught me the invaluable lesson that I am not alone in my struggles and equipped me with the necessary tools to overcome the hurdles we all face as women in engineering.”

Women in STEM are clearly aware of their strengths and confident in their abilities and achievements. They need to know that they will no longer be perceived as inferior to the male gender. The upcoming generation has excellent mentors and role models.

There Are Better Days Ahead for Women in STEM…

At women-focused tech events like the WES Conference, professional women with life-changing experiences speak and train upcoming women in science and technology.

The WES Conference aims to lead the upcoming generation of STEM women to see their potential. Beyond tutelage, they strive to create a hunger in these great minds to be better than they had dreamed and to keep reaching for excellence.

One of the trainees’ feedback shows that they are well on track. She says;

“The talks that were delivered as part of the conference aimed to be inspiring and empowering; the speakers’ experiences could be a stimulus that any individual, regardless of their gender, may need in order to keep aspiring towards their personal and professional goals.”

The mind is a canvas that should be painted on using the right information. It is crucial that young women know that they are as valuable in STEM as their male counterparts. Thankfully, we get to see them go for it and become powerful forces in their STEM fields of choice.

Enigma People Solutions has a continued dedication to supporting women in STEM. Through our partnership with the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF), we support female students that wish to attend the WES Student Conference.

We know that there is a wealth of talent, skills, and experiences to learn from when STEM women meet. It’s challenging to thrive in STEM, and no one will lower the bar for you so programs like UKESF are vital in helping to support the generation coming through.

“Not only have I gained valuable experience, but the program has made me feel like I’m a part of the UK electronics industry and has opened my eyes to what I could achieve in the future.”

Enigma People Solutions is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. We find technical leaders for the emerging and enabling technology industries. Visit our services page for more information. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in photonics, electronics, semiconductor, software and IoT in Scotland and the UK. Check out our blog page for the latest in the technology industry. You can get in touch with us or call us on + 44 131 510 8150