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Why We Need Women in STEM Industries

Even in 2024, it’s still widely understood that STEM industries are typically male-dominated. While the representation of women in STEM is rising year-on-year, there is still plenty of work to be done to make science, technology, engineering and maths more inclusive of women.

Just over a quarter of the people working in STEM in the UK are female and many organisations are making an effort to be more inclusive as they hire new staff, but the gender gap remains.

As economic, environmental and political systems falter, the fact of the matter is we need our best thinkers and doers in every industry – and that has to include women.

Why is there a lack of women in STEM industries?

One of the main reasons for the shortage of women in STEM industries is the lack of education on relevant topics offered to girls at school level, and the fact that they aren’t encouraged to pursue these roles as much as boys.

In addition to this, stereotypes often hold the industry back, with many still believing that women aren’t as well suited to STEM roles due to their perceived skill sets and lifestyle choices. But these stereotypes prevent us from benefitting from a wealth of innovative ideas, interesting experiences and useful knowledge.

There is also a lack of distinct role models and mentorship in STEM. This means that women find it difficult to envision themselves pursuing similar careers.

Why do we need more women in STEM fields?

Just like in any industry, the STEM fields thrive on diversity and innovation. A Cloverpop report on inclusion and diversity in the workplace found that diverse teams make better decisions than non-diverse teams up to 87% of the time and are proven to be more innovative and socially aware.

It’s proven that men and women perceive things differently and STEM workforces benefit from their combined cognitive diversity.

In business terms, this leads to better performance across your teams and economic and social benefits that otherwise may not be realised.

Introducing more women to the industry would result in progress towards closing the gender pay gap and creating products that are more suited to women.

There are also plenty of benefits to encouraging women to progress within STEM industries. Research from the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that companies with 30% of women leaders have a 15% increase in profitability compared to peers without female leaders.

How can we make STEM careers more attainable for women?

In order to close the gender gap, girls and young women need to be given more opportunities to be educated on STEM subjects at schools, colleges and universities.

Despite changes in paternity leave, women are still statistically more likely to juggle childcare with their careers, so prioritising a work-life balance and introducing family-friendly policies in the hiring process could make STEM industries more attractive.

Although a commitment to hiring more women is a positive start, following through with that promise and empowering women in these roles is crucial to becoming a diverse and welcoming workplace.

It’s time to champion women who are achieving great things in STEM fields. Not only do they deserve to be recognised, but they can also help inspire the next generation of women in STEM.

At FutureMotiv, we have seen a 42% increase in female employees over the last year. We’re dedicated to prioritising a diverse and welcoming workplace and we champion women who excel in their roles.

If you’re a female engineer or you’re interested in finding out more about working with us, head to our Careers page and keep on top of our current vacancies.