Women’s work is never done… in science and technology

More
than £70bn worth of industry-trained scientific talent is going to waste
because the sector refuses to address women’s concerns about working in the
industry.

Research
by QinetiQ, the science and technology research organisation, shows that three-quarters
of UK women of with degrees in science, engineering and technology (SET)
subjects fail to take up careers in those areas.

According
to the report, 290,000 women in the UK have degrees in SET, and 50,000 also
have SET-related work experience, yet the industry remains characterised by the
image of men in coats with beards.

In
IT, electronics, telecommunications and broadcasting women make up only 28 per
cent of the total workforce – proportionally lower than most other developed
countries including the US, Canada and Taiwan.

The
proportion of women in specific jobs involving developing and producing
technology in those sectors is just 9 per cent, compared to more than 20 per
cent in the US.

Dame
Pauline Neville-Jones, chairman of QinetiQ, said that science and technology
companies need to take a long hard look at why women are not entering careers
in this sector.

"Collectively
we need to help make this area more attractive to girls at school then ensure
that they capitalise on their qualifications rather than embark on unrelated
careers," she said.

By Michael Millar

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