Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy National Women in Engineering Day!

Today is dedicated to raising the profile and celebrating the achievements of women in engineering.

National Women in Engineering Day was created by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary. Today, WES wants to focus attention on the great opportunities for women in engineering, at a time when it has never been more important to address the engineering skills shortage. By encouraging girls into engineering careers we will not only be increasing diversity and inclusion – a business imperative – but enabling us to fill the substantial future job opportunities that have been predicted in this sector.

The idea behind National Women in Engineering Day is to encourage all groups (Governmental, educational, corporate, Professional Engineering Institutions, individuals and other organizations) to organize their own events in support of the day, and link them together for maximum impact through the use of the NWED logo, corresponding website, and supporting resources.

To celebrate this day, head over to The Women in STEM Idea Exchange Summit website and register for our upcoming summit this fall in Boston. The Summit brings together companies struggling to fill their STEM job pipelines with female college students pursuing STEM degrees. The summits are designed to facilitate closing the gap between corporate needs for a STEM-enabled workforce and student questions about job prospects that align their passion with the needs of corporate America.

Last year, attendees, both students and corporations alike, shared what they have experienced and learned, gained insight into best practices for recruitment and retention, engaged with the next generation of STEM women and worked together to drive change. We look forward to meeting you at the next summit to inspire, engage, discuss and change the future of the STEM workforce! Register here:

The Women in Stem Exchange Idea Summit Team


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UK Struggles with Underrepresentation of Women in STEM Professions

For a while now it has been commonly known that there is a severe underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering and math. In 2014 it was found that in the UK there were around 4.71 million males working in STEM fields and only 0.69 million women in the same occupation. The vast difference once again shows the proof that the STEM industries are a boys club.

The issue was again brought to light after Nobel prize-winning biochemist Tim Hunt resigned from his position at University College London after making comments about the ‘trouble with girls’ in laboratories. Hunt whilst at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea, commented “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls…Three things happen when they are in the lab…You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry."

This comment, which led to Hunt resigning, whilst causing much outrage, signaled again to many the issue that women are still underrepresented across almost all levels of science. In the UK, women make up just 12.8% of the STEM workforce. This is only up 0.2% from 2012 which hardly going to make a difference. The lack of females in STEM fields has caused great concern in the UK in recent years and it was identified that in order to generate higher numbers of scientists and engineers that the economy requires, then getting more females enrolled in a science course at university and in schools was the key.

It has been found that in the UK, women are under-represented at professorial levels in academic research careers in all STEM disciplines (typically 17 percent less). The proportion of boys is considerably higher too when it comes to undergraduate and graduate degrees in STEM subjects. There are found to be 12 percent more males in undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The comparison can be seen across the pond in America as well. The top computer programs have male dominated courses which has been found to cause confidence issues for the smaller numbers of females who take the course. The confidence issues are seen in the UK too; at A-Level girls were found to lack confidence in science and math even when their results were better than the boys.'

There have been movements in the USA to try and promote STEM fields to younger females in order to boost numbers at college level and this needs to be implemented in the UK and across the world. Increasing numbers of women in science professions will cause more to filter into the industry and start to take down the boys clubs that have moved from the colleges to the top of the industries. This in turn will create role models that younger female STEM enthusiasts can look at and give them the confidence to step into scientific careers.

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at