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Sunzida Says - Part 2

Why She Who Innovates?

 

Innovation is constituted by several different things, personalised to each and every individual. Whether it be the motivation to create, the methodology behind a puzzle or a code, or even an impromptu decision when in an urgent situation of pressure, innovation is demonstrated by all of us subconsciously. But how can we bring it into the limelight? To further advance our knowledge, and our ease of access in this world?

 

One of the answers is STEM. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and its education is integral for encouraging children into some of the most highly demanded roles. One of them include the energy industry which is being transformed by new technologies, with customers wanting new ways to manage energy, and electricity generation switching to low carbon. As the UK’s largest low carbon electricity generator, largest supplier of electricity by volume and biggest investor in future low carbon generation, EDF Energy has major requirements for STEM skills. It believes far more girls are needed to take up STEM careers to meet future skills requirements especially.

 

Typically, there has been a discrepancy between women and men in the STEM field. Males mainly dominate Physics classrooms, with 1 in 5 students being female. In the UK, 462,000 females perform STEM-related jobs. If there were gender parity, this number would be 1.2 million. Research has shown that this underrepresentation may be down to stereotypes reinforced from a young age that being female is not associated with intellectual ability, and that STEM careers are considered ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’. Microsoft’s study shows that most girls become interested in STEM in school at around the age of 11, but their interest starts to wane by the age of 15, showing that these stereotypes may partake in the dissuasion of so many young girls who choose to not proceed with a science-related career.

 

However, change is on its way!.There are several initiatives that encourage young girls to explore the wonders of STEM in and outside of school, scholarships that assist female university students to continue their studies, and all manner of conferences, mentoring opportunities, and programs that encourage female STEM professionals to remain in the field. Alongside, the number of females taking science A-Levels has been the highest it’s ever been, making up to 50.3% of entries in 2019. Although there still appears to be a divide in both the abundance of females in the STEM industry and their representation, women are showing innovation. They are combating these ingrained stereotypes, and doing more to show that they are not just ‘the average scientist’. In my next blog post, I’ll discuss more about inspirational women in STEM who have paved their path to success, and have shown young girls that they can walk that path with their heads held high.

 

This is where the importance of She Who Innovates lies. It tackles where young women are most underrepresented, and is going to provide the young girls who attend with a growth mindset. Instead of believing that our abilities are unchangeable and static, we want to show that we are able to develop, and that we are able to continue innovating. Wherever our passions lie, be it science or the arts, we want to motivate girls to not be dissuaded, to have their abilities merited and their methods heard. Ultimately, we want to manifest that innovation is our key to the lock that is gender disparity.

 

A couple of links of initiatives that intrigued me when writing this:

 

https://girlswhostem.com/ - provides resources and advice for girls interested in STEM

 

http://www.edfenergy.com/prettycurious - a virtual reality film released by EDF Energy to exhibit successful women in STEM-related careers, and to address the lack of women in the field

 

http://www.edfenergy.com/prettycurious/jobsofthefuture - report of the programme itself

 

Until next time, Sun~

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