Government plans to help women scientists develop careers

Trade
and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt has unveiled plans to help more women
scientists and engineers develop their careers after they have had children and
to increase the recognition of women in these professions.

The
proposals include new core Government funding of £35,000 a year for the next
three years for a Women in Science and Engineering campaign and over the same
period an £80,000 package to fund a mentoring scheme for female scientists and
engineers aimed at helping women return to work after a career break.

The
scheme is supported by Ford, HSBC, BAE, Astra Zeneca and Alstom Power.

The
Government has also appointed Baroness Susan Greenfield to lead a high level
group to develop a targeted strategy to improve women’s participation across
the sciences.

The
group will report to Hewitt in the summer and advise on how the UK can focus
its efforts more effectively to address the under-representation of women at
all levels of science and engineering.

Hewitt
said: "New research shows that around 50,000 women science, engineering
and technology graduates are not working at any one time. Of those that do
return to work after having children only around 8,000 return to make use of
their education and training. This is a waste of women’s talents."

By Ben Willmott

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