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Women in STEM: Empowerment in employment

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors are largely occupied by men. The number of women in these industries is particularly low — findings from 2017 reported that only 23 per cent of STEM employees are women. This is undoubtedly low, however is 105,470 higher than rates in 2016.

Attitudes appear to be changing towards women in the STEM workforce. This year has seen some of the biggest names and influential figures in the industry being women, such as Kate Bouman, the woman who engineered the first image of a black hole. In this article, we track how more women have entered STEM than any other field in the past four decades...

Research by LinkedIn stated that of all career fields, STEM had more female employees over the last 40 years than any other sector. Philanthropist and former general manager at Microsoft, Melinda Gates, said: “Innovation happens when we approach urgent challenges from every different point of view. Bringing women and underrepresented minorities into the field guarantees that we see the full range of solutions to the real problems that people face in the world”.

Health and fitness app Fitbit came under scrutiny in 2018 when they released their period tracker which had a 10-day cycle. If more women were involved in the creation, they would’ve realised this was 3 days too long. In the States, the tech industry is one of the highest paying fields — yet women are still paid less than their male counterparts.

Breaking Through Bias

Biases are unfortunately a part of the way people think. Especially when we’ve been raised with the idea that men are better suited for certain jobs than women. Charles Darwin described women as intellectual inferiors and universities rejected women up until the 20th century.

Senior vice president for the American Association of University Women, Laura Segal, argued: “Teachers and parents provide explicit and implicit messages starting in early childhood that boys and men are ‘better’ at math, and the gaps in the professions reinforce the opportunities, culture and lack of role models that perpetuate male dominance”.

Schools and universities have increased initiatives to promote women in STEM since 2012. Previously, female students reported avoiding STEM courses because of a lack of female role models to identify with. If girls were taught about female role models like Marie Curie, for example, who discovered the effects of radiation, perhaps they’d be more inclined to pursue a career in the field.

To tackle this issue, more content around women in STEM has been introduced by exam boards. Rosalind Franklin, a woman central to the understanding of DNA, has been taught across the nation. This has been linked to this year’s A-level results, which saw female students studying STEM courses (50.3%) outnumber male students (49.7%). 

Funding

There’s been an increase in funding to fix the STEM gender disparity. Philanthropists have donated $25 million to boost girls’ interest by changing the narrative that they’re masculine careers. It’s expected to inspire other girls to follow other successful women. 

Sadly, it’s been a common theme for women to leave STEM careers due to it being heavily dominated by men, such as the engineering industry. They noted that they had to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and to earn respect.

125 female ambassadors were incorporated by Lyda Hill Philanthropists, representing the different STEM career paths. Part of the donation will be used to fund grants for women to study STEM courses.

Apprenticeships

Research by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found that a shortage of STEM workers in the UK is costing around £1.5 billion annually. Apprenticeships have an equal gender balance, yet only nine per cent of STEM apprentices are women.

To overcome this disappointing figure, the UK government is helping women learn more about the opportunities apprenticeships offer to encourage them to pursue STEM. Lookers, who offer a range of motability cars, launched a female apprenticeship scheme back in 2018. The aim is to double the amount of their female apprenticeships and provide a positive environment to encourage and attract women to STEM.

Although it’s disappointing to hear about a gender disparity in today’s age, it’s encouraging to hear about how efforts are being made by many to make room for women in STEM.

Sources

https://www.stemwomen.co.uk/blog/2019/09/women-in-stem-percentages-of-women-in-stem-statistics

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/06/how-melinda-gates-used-computer-science-to-help-solve-this-tech-issue.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/10/women-stem-gaining-recognition-feature/

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2017/03/07/breaking-the-stem-ceiling-for-girls/

https://www.stemwomen.co.uk/blog/2019/08/why-are-female-students-now-outnumbering-males-in-a-level-science

https://www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value/feature/5-ways-close-gender-gap-women-stem-ncna1070101

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47891902

https://www.forbes.com/sites/biancabarratt/2018/11/17/the-need-for-more-women-in-stem-roles-goes-beyond-simple-diversity/#388f2b8b45cb

Logistics facing ‘time bomb’ skills deficit

A ‘time bomb’ of logistics skills deficits could bring the whole nation to a grinding halt, according to a new report.

The research, published by specialist recruitment and development company Talent In Logistics, reveals that only eight percent of young people consider the sector to be an attractive career option, while an astounding 42 percent don’t even know what logistics is.

And, with only nine percent of the current logistics workforce under the age of 25, the report says there’s a likelihood of a severe skills deficit in the future.

500 students and teachers attending the WorldSkills UK Live exhibition took part in the Talent In Logistics research in November 2018, which also reveals significant concerns around diversity, career opportunities and salary.

The research triggered the commissioning of a white paper,’ Changing Perceptions: Attracting Young Talent Into Logistics’, highlighting the extent of the damage and providing insight to help businesses attract and retain millennials.

Key findings included:

  • A quarter (26 percent) of the young people quizzed said they do not believe there is gender diversity within the logistics sector
  • Only 18 percent have been spoken to at school or Sixth Form about logistics as a career path

Many of those polled were also unaware of the range of roles available within logistics, which can range from facilities managers and data analysts to freight co-ordinators and materials planners.

“The perception of logistics is arguably the biggest problem facing the sector when trying to recruit new talent,” said Ruth Edwards, business manager of Talent In Logistics.

“As an organisation we want to promote the importance of recruiting talent from groups that are currently under-represented in the logistics industry.

“It’s only by future-proofing the nation’s currently thriving logistics sector that we can keep the UK moving.”

Talent In Logistics says that while driver shortages and skills gaps are already taking their toll, the biggest hurdle is the sector’s ageing population and the lack of millennials coming up through the ranks to replace them.

Edwards concluded: “We are calling upon the sector and the education system to play their part in ensuring young people are aware of the many amazing opportunities and career paths available within logistics.”

A full copy of the report ca be downloaded below.

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

University of London unveils supply chain management degree

A brand new degree from the University of London, delivered in partnership with City – University of London’s Cass Business School – aims to give students a 360 degree perspective and learn about the managerial and analytical tools to manage global supply chains.

The MSc in Supply Chain Management and Global Logistics will also help students learn how to successfully lead supply chains of the future by creating cultural of innovation and adopting latest technologies in all sectors of their organisation.

Co-Programme Director Dr Byung-Gak Son stressed the importance of an effectively managed supply chain, which contributes immensely to the success of global companies like Amazon, Unilever, Nike and The Coca Cola Company.

“Given the enormous challenges of increasingly global and fragmented supply chains, we professionals require a sound understanding of emerging opportunities and risks and the knowledge and tools to handle them,” said Son.

“Our degree was developed as a result of rigorous research that we carried out to identify the skills needed by large organisations to successfully manage their supply chains. As a result, we aim to combine a comprehensive understanding of the subject and related disciplines with in-depth knowledge in relevant specialised areas such as innovation and technology management, supply chain finance or analytics.”

Sam Brenton, Director of Educational Innovation and Development, University of London, said: “We know that today’s professional learners value flexibility and choice. With our unique model, students on the MSc can study entirely online, or with local tuition from our global network of teaching centres.

“Academic direction is provided by the renowned Cass Business School, part of City, University of London and one of the world’s leading business schools. We look forward to welcoming our first cohort of students in April, as they study for a prestigious University of London degree anywhere in the world – at work, from home or on the move.”

Applications are now open, and close on Monday 4 March 2019.

To find out more about the MSc in Supply Chain Management and Global Logistics, visit: https://london.ac.uk/courses/supply-chain-management