04 November 2015
Young Scientist Centre director says stereotypes are discouraging
A university academic is calling for more young women to pursue careers in science, following a report which revealed a third of girls don’t consider themselves clever enough.
Dr Liz Granger, director of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Ri Young Scientist Centre, says stereotypes which infer these subjects are more suited to males can be damaging and discourage young women.
The study, commissioned by EDF Energy, found that 32 percent of girls aged between 11 and 16 don’t think they’re clever enough to become a scientist, despite 28 percent citing science as their favourite subject and one in which they performed best in.
A further 15 percent said they felt too creative to go into science, while 13 percent believed companies who employ scientists would prefer to employ men.
"Unfortunately a combination of social pressure and lack of positive roles models can discourage girls from pursuing science. That’s why it’s really important that we work to build confidence in all students."
Dr Liz Granger said: “Unfortunately a combination of social pressure and lack of positive roles models can discourage girls from pursuing science. It’s a shame that the girls interviewed in the study lacked confidence in their own ability, despite enjoying the subject and performing well. That’s why it’s really important that we work to build confidence in all students and help them realise their potential in STEM subjects.”
As part of a campaign run by UCLan to promote female roles within STEM careers, a set of posters has been produced featuring academic role models from the University.
The posters address inaccurate perceptions of the types of careers available in these industries, inspiring women to look past stereotypes and combat the gender imbalance.
In 2014, the University was awarded the Athena Swan Bronze Award, which recognises commitment towards women in specialist subject areas and advancing women’s careers in STEM subjects.