In the wake of new research commissioned by L’Oréal revealing that over half of older teens are ready to rule out a career in science, Inspiring the Future (run by the charity Education and Employers) are partnering with L’Oréal to run the Women in Science campaign. This exciting new campaign will encourage female role models to visit local schools and chat to primary aged school children to help inspire the next generation of scientists.
Research commissioned by L’Oréal has found that an average 55% of 16-18-year-old full time students are not studying science. Of those, more than a third (40%) said it was because they don’t think science would lead to a career they want to do, and just under a third (29%) feel they are no good at science. The UK is still short on female scientists, and L’Oréal believes the key to fixing this problem is bringing inspirational role models into the classroom, particularly at a young age; more than half of students studying science at university say they fell in love with the subject while at primary school. With only 13% of STEM workers being female and jobs in STEM areas being amongst some of the highest paid roles, the lack of women in STEM also contributes to the gender pay gap.
help plug this gap, children need to be reached before stereotypes begin to dictate their future choices. By the age of five children start ruling out careers based on gender thus intervention is needed at primary school level to ensure equal opportunity for all children. That’s why Inspiring the Future and L’Oréal are working together to help young children see first-hand how science can lead to a vast range of exciting opportunities. In a launch event held at the Royal Society, 70 primary school children came together with 10 women from the science sector to develop a greater understanding of science careers and make the important link to their in-school learning.
Anne Lyons, President of the National Association of Head Teachers said:
“Role models from the world of work can have a big impact on children – they can help them see why the subjects they are studying matter. It also helps to tackle the stereotypes children have from a young age which lead them to think that certain subjects and careers are not for them. We know that children from the age of 5 often stereotype the jobs people do according to their gender – and this is particularly the case in science. That is why we are keen to get more volunteers who work in science to volunteer an hour of their time to visit a local school and chat to young people about their job and career route.”
If you’re a woman working in STEM, sign up via http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/ and volunteer an hour of time talking with primary school children about their job. Sign up to the Women in Science campaign to help inspire the next generation of women in science.