‘Increase female representation in STEM sector’ – Rogers

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Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

SDLP Education Spokesperson Seán Rogers MLA has highlighted the underrepresentation of women in the STEM (Science, Technology, engineering and Mathematics) Sector.

rogers9Speaking in the Assembly Chamber Rogers said this failing requires a cross departmental approach to remedy and that information should be available to girls at early stages to encourage them to consider a career in STEM.

Speaking to Newry Times, he stated, “Gender imbalance in the STEM sector must be addressed as matter of gender equality and of economic urgency. Women currently make up 46% of the UK’s workforce, but just 15.5% of the core STEM workforce.

“The lack of uptake of STEM subjects is worrying. If we are to generate a higher level of research and development, we need the engineers, the technicians and the skilled scientists working in Northern Ireland.

“The demand for STEM graduates is increasing at a time when Northern Ireland is facing a brain drain with so many of our young people studying and working abroad on a one-way ticket out of Northern Ireland.

“The UK economy needs more STEM workers and we cannot meet the demand without increasing the number of women in STEM,” he insisted.

“We cannot have a discrete departmental approach to this: the DEL, Education and DETI Ministers need to come together and ensure that our STEM curriculum is attractive to employers and that it equips our young people with the skills prized by the industry.

Rogers added, “This is not a case of forcing students into subjects which they have no interest in but no student should overlook STEM subjects because of lack of information or misperceptions of it being a “boys only” club.”

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