Throughout history, women have always played a crucial role within science, technology, engineering and mathematics (#STEM). Though at times these contributions have been overlooked, or even forgotten, and Women in STEM week serves to celebrate the work of these pioneering individuals and make way for the STEM leaders of the future.

Equal access to education is a human right, and this applies to STEM subjects too. This, however, has not always been the case. To this day, there is a science gender gap. Less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women and this under-representation occurs in every region in the world. In schools, boys are also traditionally more likely to choose STEM subjects and to move on to studying STEM degrees at university.

On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, physics teacher Charlotte Grace talks about why it is so important that more young women choose #STEM subjects 🙋‍♀‍🔬

— Department for Education (@educationgovuk) February 11, 2021

But change is coming. In the UK, there has been a 31% increase in entries from women and girls to STEM A-levels between 2010 and 2019. There has also been an increase in the number of young women taking Mathematics and Further Mathematics, by around 2.8% and 3.9% respectively.

In higher education, the picture for women in STEM looks bright.

According to recent UCAS data provided by HESA, 35% of STEM students in higher education in the UK are women.

Between 2011 and 2020, the number of women accepted onto full-time STEM undergraduate courses increased by 50.1% in the UK.

Within the same period, the proportion of women entering full-time undergraduate courses taking STEM subjects increased from 33.6% to 41.4%.

Overall numbers of students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are rising. Yet, we know employer groups continue to point to an unmet demand for higher-level STEM skills. This issue seems particularly acute in manufacturing, construction, engineering, science and technology sectors.

These high-level skills can be accessed through apprenticeships, and we are committed to addressing the STEM gender imbalance by supporting more women into high-quality STEM apprenticeship opportunities.

In 2019/20 women accounted for 11.4% of STEM starts, up from 8.8% in 2017/18. Though these changes are small, the ripple effects this will have across science and technology industries as well as the UK economy cannot be understated.

This is why we are committed to funding several different initiatives, crucial to improving women’s access into STEM. This includes a landmark £84 million programme to  improve the teaching of computing and drive up participation in computer science at GCSE and A level, particularly amongst girls.

We are also funding the Advanced Maths Premium, which aims to support schools and colleges in tackling some of the financial barriers to increase participation in post-16 maths. In addition, much investment and support has been given to Isaac Physics, an online platform of GCSE and A level physics materials developed by the University of Cambridge to increase the numbers of students (particularly from typically underrepresented backgrounds) studying physics in higher education. The platform also helps to reduce teacher workload.

Other such programmes that the government is supporting includes, Improving Gender Balance in physics, and a Gender Balance in Computing Programme to identify practical interventions that schools can implement to improve girls’ participation in computing.

We’re also working with education innovators to bring about T Levels, a new, technical alternative to A Levels.  They are rolling out in a phased approach over the next three years and include a number of STEM subjects such as Engineering and Manufacturing, Digital, and Health and Science.

For women, these benefits are profound. As well as opening up a whole new world of scientific possibilities, STEM degrees offer some of the highest earnings returns for female graduates. Women studying medicine can expect to benefit by around £250k on average over their lifetime, whilst returns are almost £100k on average for maths, pharmacology and engineering graduates.

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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

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Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

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The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

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If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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