President of BCS, The Charted Institute, Liz Bacon, is establishing a force of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to encourage more females to consider careers in such fields. The network was launched at a recent BCS Presidential lecture and dinner.
Bacon said more girls and women should be encouraged into careers that involve science, engineering, maths and IT: “In IT, women account for just 16% of the UK IT workforce; this is a serious issue for both the UK and the IT profession.
“As part of my presidential year, I’ve invited senior women to join a network to support work already being done through collaboration with other groups, to address the lack of diversity in the professions, particularly women, at all levels. Our aim is to look for new ways to inspire the next generation of women. We will also be supporting existing approaches, such as offering mentoring and work shadowing schemes, acting as role models, publicising success, and encouraging good practice, such as supporting women returning to work with training and flexible working patterns.”
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Maggie Philbin, CEO of Teen Tech, president of Institution of Engineering Designers, is part of the new network. “I'm delighted to be part of a network that sets out to make a real difference, not only to the number of women working in science and technology companies, but also to the number reaching their true potential and leading, managing and creating those organisations," she said.
“It's not enough to parachute a few women in as non-execs, or to encourage girls to consider STEM careers. Companies and academic organisations need to look at how they can build structures and cultures that are genuinely welcoming, and to promote those who are already doing this. Otherwise, women will continue to vote with their feet,” said Philbin.
Frances Saunders, president of the Institute of Physics, also a member of the network, said: “Girls need to see that there are inspiring women they can identify with having successful careers in STEM before they will be convinced that it is something they would want to do themselves.
“We need to encourage them to join us in our professions rather than just tell them that studying science and maths will be good for them.”
Women who have so far volunteered to support the network include:
Gillian Arnold, director, Tectre, chair of BCSWomen
Jenny Body, immediate past president, Royal Aeronautical Society
Dawn Bonfield, president, Women's Engineering Society
Naomi Climer, president, Sony Media Cloud Services
Rosemary Cook, CEO, Institute of Physics & Engineering in Medicine
Sarah Fray, director of engineering, the Institution of Structural Engineers
Rebecca George, partner Deloitte, vice president and trustee, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
Trudy Grey-Norris, chair, WISE
Judith Hackitt, chair of HSE and past president, Institution of Chemical Engineers
Dame Wendy Hall, past president, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
Joanne Hannaford, co-head of Enterprise Platforms, Goldman Sachs Technology and partner
Dame Celia Hoyles, president, Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
Dame Sue Ion, chairman Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board
Joanna Kennedy, Patron of WISE, former director and global project management leader, Arup
Elizabeth Mansfield, vice president learned society, Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
Maggie Philbin, CEO, Teen Tech, president of Institution of Engineering Designers
Isobel Pollock, chair National Measurement Office Steering Board, past president Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Kate Russell, technology reporter and author
Frances Saunders, president, Institute of Physics
Elizabeth Sparrow, past president, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
Sue Sumner, director, global finance technology and solutions, Barclays
Helen Wollaston, director, WISE
Lesley Yellowlees, president, Royal Society of Chemistry