Jun 20, 2023
As the sector gears up to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day (23 June), EngineeringUK has released a new report which brings together the available evidence on interventions that aim to increase girls’ aspirations for engineering and technology careers.
Despite some improvements, women are still significantly underrepresented in engineering and technology - making up just 16.5% of the engineering workforce, compared with 47.7% of the overall workforce. Providing high-quality impactful STEM outreach activities for girls is a vital part of addressing this.
A summary of existing evidence, 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, comments “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 continues to develop.”
The review is split into 5 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
- The use of role models that are a similar age can help bridge the developmental gap between students and professionals
- Showcase a range of engineering and technology careers
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