Keep gender on the agenda – now more than ever

Science, technology, engineering and mathematical modelling save lives – we see that more than ever in this C-19 crisis. We are relying on our scientists, technologists and engineers to come up with solutions, fast, to improve health and survival rates, to support businesses, organisations and the economy, to enable virtual social connection. They are essential contributors, key workers and equal among them are many, many women.

WISE, the campaign for gender balance in STEM, has brought together 20 partner organisations who have agreed to pool resources in a joint effort to ensure we continue to engage, nurture, grow and understand the important contribution of women in science, technology and engineering in the UK, now and for the future. 

We are here to support Government, employers, educators and individual scientists and engineers to keep gender on the agenda during the coming weeks and months. 

Emerging evidence highlights the risks if we fail as a nation to make decisions without reference to gender. 

To this end, in this global pandemic more than ever before, the business, economic and social case for equality, diversity and inclusion in science, technology and engineering (STEM) is absolutely fundamental. 

  • Women represent 16.5% of IT workforce in UK.
    • When the IT workforce shrank in 2017, 30% of that reduction was women
    • When the IT workforce increased by 3% in 2019, ~3,000 women left wheres mens  employment grew by 4%

Economically, women are likely to bear the brunt of the C-19 crisis due to:

  • The decision to close schools and nurseries;
  • Need to care for sick at home
  • Women hold 70% of jobs that are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay
  • Relaxation of Gender Pay Gap reporting
  • Disproportionate female furloughing, redundancies, resignations

Let’s highlight all the energising and inspirational stories and capture the inclusive ways of working to address the current challenges and for the long-term benefit of women, businesses and the country as a whole.

5 actions we are taking to make a difference:

  1. Telling positive stories about the way women are making a difference in this current pandemic.
  2. Keeping connected to STEM women whilst on furlough, working from home, caring for children or relatives and whilst their workplaces, schools, colleges and universities are closed. We will need their skills to help the economy bounce back.
  3. Addressing STEM skills shortages by providing women at risk of losing their jobs access to online technical training.
  4.  Monitoring gender impact of decisions about employment, education and caring roles during the pandemic to ensure women are not disproportionately affected.
  5. Embracing new ways of working to transform our organisations for the long-term; including flexibility, online meetings, reduced travel which improve inclusion, productivity, health and well-being and benefit the environment.

For resources to support these actions go to the Coronavirus portal on the WISE website