Changes in attitudes needed so girls don't get left behind

Recently the United Nations (UN) said that women and girls are at risk of being left behind if countries don’t start putting measures in place to change attitudes towards women studying in scientific and technological fields.

The UN pointed out that this gap is an obstacle to a nation’s progress and stems from social attitudes – in both developed and non-developed countries – which generally encourage girls to take up careers in ‘softer’ subjects.

An UN official from the world body’s International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Bureau for Workers’ Activities, Claude Akpokavie, said: “Women tend to be overrepresented in the humanities and social sciences, and underrepresented in science and technology.

“Measures need to be put in place to redress this imbalance.”

Even when girls are given the opportunity to follow a possible career path in technology, it’s not made easy for them.

A recent report found that women science graduates in the US are discriminated against when applying for research posts.

In Iran the government recently chose to exclude women from several university studies, which included nuclear physics and electrical engineering.

Several universities in China require women to obtain higher entry grades then male students for entrance on to certain science courses.

Despite this type of discrimination fortunately not affecting the UK’s education system, I have had several conversations with women surrounding the difficulties of women progressing within their careers.

It’s one challenge getting girls interested in working in technology, but once they are in it is important to ensure that women are not left working at the lowest levels.