Breaking down career stereotypes for girls


Breaking down career stereotypes for girls

This International Women's Day Lindsay Law invited 120 primary school girls to the RBS Entrepreneurial Centre and Open Experience in Edinburgh, giving them a unique opportunity to step into the heart of a technology and business operation.

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Lindsay Law
Senior manager, Strategic Programme Assurance
Blog

09 March 2017

 

Lindsay talks about why she ran the event and the value it brings.

A couple of years ago I attended an IBM Women in Technology conference and heard about a growing skills shortage in IT, particularly in Scotland, which means there are many more jobs than people to fill them.

Only 17.4% of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) graduates are women, and of that group only 51% actually go on to work in STEM roles. And in business ownership it's even more stark: only 11% of STEM business owners are women. 

I was speaking to local schools about the threat of stereotyping and the research told me that many girls have a fixed mindset, believing that STEM subjects and careers are not for them, even before they get to secondary school. The statistics showed that interventions after this point might be too late.

The idea behind the event on International Women's Day was to show girls that being the technology creators of the future is desirable, relatable, fun, and absolutely achievable, and also to start breaking down stereotypes that teachers and parents might hold about girls and technology. 

Their energy, interest and enthusiasm was palpable. We held a Q&A with women business owners based at the Entrepreneurial Spark Hub. This helped the girls understand the process from creative idea, to planning, to launching a successful business. 

We also worked with universities; engineering and technology organisations to create workshops and mini-challenges to grab the girls' interest and give them fun activities do to on the day.

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