New EngineeringUK report calls for more “impactful STEM engagement” activities to help increase gender diversity in the sector
As the sector celebrates International Women in Engineering Day (23 June), EngineeringUK has released a new report which aims to help increase the number of girls pursuing engineering and technology careers.
According to current figures, women represent 16.5% of the engineering workforce, compared with 47.7% of the overall workforce.
EngineeringUK believes that the provision of high-quality, impactful STEM outreach activities for girls is a vital part of increasing the representation of women in the sector.
The report – Rapid Evidence Review – Interventions to increase girls’ aspirations for engineering and technology careers – aims to inform programme design and delivery for STEM engagement practitioners and funders, and to highlight gaps where more evidence is needed.
Anna Horgan-Jones, evaluation manager at EngineeringUK, said: “Engineering doesn’t feature highly on school curriculums so high-quality, impactful STEM engagement activities are vital in helping to inform and inspire young girls towards these careers.
“We hope the learnings identified in our report will be helpful for STEM outreach providers and will support efforts to improve gender diversity in engineering and technology.
“However, our review found that there are some gaps in the current evidence, so it will be important that research and evaluation in this area continue to develop.”
The review is split into five main sections, including activities for primary school students, programmes designed specifically for girls, role models and mentors, links to higher education and careers and summer camps.
Some of the key learnings highlighted across these sections include:
- Start engaging girls with engineering and technology activities at a young age;
- Include activities that challenge gender stereotypes around engineering and technology;
- Learn about the needs, interests and preferences of girls when designing outreach programmes;
- Understand the limitations of gender as a binary concept;
- Use role models that are a similar age, to help bridge the developmental gap between students and professionals;
- Showcase a range of engineering and technology careers.