Female Supporting in Science and Technology Subjects

With many science and technology subjects still dominated by men, what can universities do to support women choosing to study and work in these fields?

 



The STEM gender gap – the relatively low number of women pursuing science, technology, engineering and maths degrees and careers – has most recently come to the fore with the EU’s short but controversial film, ‘Science: It’s a Girl Thing!’

The video, which was rapidly retracted by the EU, prompted widespread criticism – not of its purpose, but of the way in which it represented the subject.

Most critics agreed with the film’s aim of encouraging more girls, from an early age, to take an interest in science subjects which are dominated by men.

But they were equally in agreement that focusing on stilettos, make-up and giggling was not the best way to do this.

So, how can individuals and institutions more effectively tackle the STEM gender gap?

Support for women in STEM subjects

Jill Collins is a project manager at the Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (WiSET) group, based at Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

She says that while large numbers of women do choose to study some STEM subjects, such as biology- and chemistry-related courses, they remain hugely under-represented in subjects such as engineering, maths, computing and physical sciences.

There is a real need for universities to provide female students in these fields with “reassurance that they will be welcome, and that they have made the right choice,” Collins believes.

She points out that many universities now run networking and mentoring schemes for female students in male-dominated subjects.

This often includes collaboration with national or international organizations, such as the UK’s Women’s Engineering Society (WES) or the Athena SWAN Charter, which recognizes good employment practice regarding gender balance.

In addition, a growing number of universities are also recognizing the importance of reaching out to young people before they get to university, by running outreach schemes in collaboration with local schools and communities.


Positive role models and clear communication


Drs Nathalie Pettorelli and Seirian Sumner, both research fellows at the Zoological Society of London, UK, agree that universities need to consider the message they send out to female students. This, they believe, means leading by example.

“Students need to be able to engage with both men and women at various stages of their careers – and not get the idea that women in academia mostly work as lab technicians or administrative staff.

“In other words, universities need role models of both genders in all subjects to motivate and inspire students of both genders.”

Pettorelli and Sumner add that it’s important to be open about both the challenges and rewards offered by a career in a STEM subject. “If both male and female students know what barriers the future holds, they can be better prepared to surmount them.

“Universities also need to better showcase the diversity of possible scientific careers, and highlight some of the positives, such as the incredible flexibility that can be found in many science jobs.”

Finally, they believe that students themselves can play a key role in tackling the STEM gender gap, through their own mindset, actions and in collaborations with others.


 

Latest Articles

  • IIM-Lucknow launches analytics programme for executives
    IIM-Lucknow launches analytics programme for executives

    The Indian Institute of Management-Lucknow and America''s Kelley School of Business Friday announced. Read More

  • Architecture Career Course Institutions in India
    Architecture Career Course Institutions in India

      Architecture Career Courses Offered Institution N. Read More

  • Haryana Budget Focus primarily on rural sector  jobs & education
    Haryana Budget Focus primarily on rural sector jobs & education

    The Haryana budget for the financial year 2016-17, presented on Monday by the state finance minister. Read More

  • Why You Need a Vanity Business Email Address
    Why You Need a Vanity Business Email Address

    Email has become indispensable to most of us in our personal communications. But it also has become . Read More

  • How important is PHP for Web Designing and Development?
    How important is PHP for Web Designing and Development?

    Based on the report by w3tech, a World Wide Web technology survey website, PHP 5.3 was used to des. Read More

Latest Classified

  • job seeker read it very carefully
     MF InfoTech is offering 4 Months Course on “Internet Marketing Success” which combines a wide range of subjects like: - 1. Affiliate Marketing 2. Blogging 3. Paid Surveys 4. Internet
  • Net World Solutions Launches New, Modernized Brand Logo
    Net World Solutions, India., a worldwide provider of Web solutions and online marketing services, today unveiled their new logo.  This redesign was overseen by Net Worlds CEO, Mili Thakur, who
  • B.Ed Admissions open for session 2012-13
    The Institute provides opportunities to under- graduate & post-graduate students to choose professional and vocational courses to build their career in teaching profession. Institute is off
  • Air Ionizer
    Weiber air ionizer used to ionize air molecules by applying high voltage. Air ionisers are used in air purifiers. Weiber manufactures air ionizers which is ideal for scientific and research app
  • INTEX MOBILE PHONE
     129F Intex Technologies is a 14-year-old IT Hardware, Mobile Phones and Electronics Company, headquartered at New Delhi. It has a pan-India presence though its own network of 33 offices and

Top Featured Institutes