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8 Mar 2022

International Women's Day:
Breaking the Bias

Today is International Women's Day and it falls in national careers week this year. The theme for International Women's Day is 'Break the Bias' so I have been thinking about what that means to me.

I’m passionate about my job as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Teens Project Officer at Thinktank because I know personally how rewarding a career as a mechanical engineer is and I want to encourage young people especially young women to see what a career in STEM can do for them.

When I look back at my career journey there were few women on it with me. I was encouraged by female science and maths teachers, but my Dad was my main influence in engineering. I was the lone female in A level physics, computer club and in my engineering degree class of a few hundred there were around 10 women.

The most recent statistics for women in STEM:

In the UK in 2020 women represent:

  • 16% of computer science graduates and 17% of computer science professionals.
  • In engineering women represent 16% of graduates and 10% of UK working professionals.
  • More positively in physical science women represent 43% of graduates and 46% science professionals in the UK.

Until all areas of STEM education and careers are matched equally between genders we still have to work to break the stereotypes and bias about what are ‘male’ subjects and careers.

How I am breaking the bias? By trying to change the stereotypes of women in STEM careers. I want to show you that you are not alone in your STEM journey, to tell you that you as a woman can be great in STEM and point you to some resources I wish I had growing up.

  1. Her STEM Story podcast is a great podcast with actionable advice and inspirational guest speakers, to help women conquer their STEM career with confidence. 
  2. TED talks have a Playlist of Brilliant Women in STEM. These women are trailblazers inspiring a new generation of women to follow their lead and change the ration in STEM.
  3. Girls Who Code are an international organization working to close the gender gap in technology in technology by teaching girls computer science, bravery and sisterhood.
  4. Thinktank run a work experience and volunteering programme so you can come gain experience in science communication, details can be found on our Get Involved page.
  5. Join thinktank’s Youth Membership Scheme and get information about opportunities at our museum and other interesting STEM information. Join by emailing sarah.wickson@birminghammuseums.org.uk and just ask to be added.

Visit the International Women’s Day website for more information.