Today we explore into the recent findings of the Science and Education Tracker 2023 (SET 2023). Today, we’ll delve into some of the key insights from this survey, particularly focusing on the gender gap in STEM confidence, and discuss strategies to bridge this divide.

(The Science Education Tracker 2023 is the third in a series of studies which track evidence of more than 7,200 young people’s experiences of and attitudes towards STEM education and careers. The 2023 report included, for the first time, questions specifically about engineering. The surveys are nationally representative, and the sample is drawn from the National Pupil Database and the Individualised Learner Record – DfE databases of all young people in England in state-funded education. This research was developed in partnership with the Royal Society and was undertaken by Verian).

Key findings

  • Only 12% of girls say being an engineer fits well with who they are
  • Just 16% of girls think engineering is suitable for them
  • Interest in science has declined and a gender gap has opened up
  • 36% of girls say science is not for them
  • Opportunities for practical science are particularly important for less engaged students
  • Only a quarter (26%) of GCSE students doing practical work at least every fortnight

Insights Revealed:

One of the standout findings from the survey is the persistent lack of confidence among female students in STEM subjects, in contrast to the male students. Despite concerted efforts to promote gender equality in STEM fields, this disparity remains a significant challenge.

Bridging the Gap:

Addressing this gender gap in STEM confidence requires a multifaceted approach that involves educators, policymakers, and the broader community. Here are some actionable ideas to inspire and empower students, particularly females, to pursue STEM careers:

  1. Encouraging Early Exposure: Introduce STEM concepts and activities at a young age to spark interest and curiosity. Organise hands-on workshops, science fairs, and coding camps to make STEM subjects accessible and engaging for all students.
  2. Promoting Female Role Models: Highlight the achievements and contributions of women in STEM fields through guest lectures, mentorship programmes, and panel discussions. By showcasing diverse role models, students can envision themselves pursuing successful careers in STEM.
  3. Build Supportive Learning Environments: Create inclusive classrooms where all students feel valued and supported in their academic pursuits. Offer additional resources and academic support to address any disparities in STEM attainment and confidence.
  4. Providing Access to STEM Programmes: Collaborate with local organisations, universities, and industry partners to offer STEM enrichment programmes and internships. Provide scholarships and financial assistance to ensure equitable access to these opportunities.
  5. Empowering Student Leadership: Encourage students to take ownership of their STEM education by involving them in decision-making processes and extracurricular activities. Empower them to pursue passion projects and initiatives that promote STEM awareness and advocacy.

As we reflect on the insights gleaned from the Science and Education Tracker 2023, it’s evident that there’s still work to be done to achieve gender parity in STEM fields. By implementing targeted interventions and creating a supportive learning environment, we can empower students of all genders to pursue their passion for STEM and unlock their full potential.

Ready to embark on your STEM journey?

Start today by reaching out to us! Whether you’re an organisation or corporation seeking to integrate tailored STEM workshops into your programmes, we’re here to help. Contact us for a friendly chat and let’s collaborate to inspire the next generation of innovators!