When it comes to encouraging women into science, technology and engineering, we just haven’t got the messaging right. Most girls decide that jobs and careers in science are “not for people like me”.
In a report for WISE (the campaign for gender balance in science, technology and engineering), sponsored by Network Rail, Professor Averil Macdonald explains why STEM outreach and engagement activities have a limited impact on girls and other young people who are under-represented in the STEM workforce. The report recommends a fresh approach - focusing on the types of people who succeed in science, technology and engineering - using adjectives to describe their personalities and aptitudes, rather than the jobs themselves.
Averil Macdonald is Professor of Science Engagement, Diversity lead for nine University physics departments in the South East of England (SEPnet) and a member of the WISE Board.