From education to employment

Better gender representation in UK STEM curriculum urged, as 1 in 3 young people don’t remember being taught about a woman scientist

woman in stem

1 in 3 young people (aged 14-19) across the UK say that they haven’t or don’t remember being taught about a woman scientist in the past two years, according to a new survey** commissioned by Stemettes and supported by the British Science Association.

The majority of young people (70%) surveyed also said they thought it was important for schools to include information about women STEM role models in their lessons, with boys (71%) just as likely as girls (65%) to agree.  

To raise awareness about women in STEM** who are excluded from the UK curriculum, and to mark Stemettes’ 10th anniversary, the social enterprise has organised for scores of young girls, women and non-binary people to walk over Waterloo Bridge – also known as the Ladies’ Bridge, due to the undocumented contribution of female construction workers when the bridge was rebuilt in the 1930s – at midday on Monday 13 February.

The walk will culminate in a reception at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) where attendees will hear from keynote speaker and CEO of Stemettes, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, as well as Dr Laura Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the IET, about the systematic exclusion of women role models who continue to be erased and excluded from text books and lesson plans.

Stemettes is inviting girls, women and non-binary people aged 5-25 to take part in its Connect, Listen, Celebrate: Bridging the Gap bridge walk and event, along with their families and friends. Registration is free and now open.

Stemettes was founded and is led by former Channel 4 Countdown arithmetician, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE. The pioneering social initiative will celebrate its 10th birthday on Sunday 12 February and, for the past decade, has facilitated ground-breaking free events, mentoring, programmes and upskilling opportunities to prepare girls, young women and non-binary people (aged 5–25) for careers of the future in STEAM***.

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Co-founder and CEO of Stemettes said:

“Ten years of work has helped so many to make informed decisions about their futures – across our events, programmes and platforms we’re shifting the social norm on women and the STEM and STEAM fields. I’m proud of the future we’re creating and what we’ve been able to achieve so far in partnership with industry, academia and entrepreneurs. Here’s to a maximum of 10 more years of work needed from Stemettes and a plethora of systemic changes to ensure this is a problem of the past.”

Dr Imafidon is also currently the President of the British Science Association, a charity which develops science engagement programmes for children, young people and communities who are underrepresented in, and underserved by, science. The British Science Association supported Stemettes’ survey.

Hannah Russell, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, said:

“It’s cause for concern that a third of students haven’t or don’t remember being taught about a woman scientist in the past two years. Representation matters. All young people, especially those who are traditionally underrepresented in science such as girls, should be given the opportunity to learn about the diverse people and careers in STEM. This will help to challenge unhelpful stereotypes, raise young people’s STEM aspirations and show them that science is for everyone – regardless of your background.  

Dr Laura Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the IET, said:

“It’s hard to be what you can’t see which is why it’s so important to shine a spotlight on the incredible women who have changed our world for the better. We have a responsibility and opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM to eliminate damaging and misconceived stereotypes and show young people just how exciting, creative and life-changing working in this industry can be.”

From February to October 2023, Stemettes will be celebrating its 10th birthday with a series of free public events and roundtable discussions in the North East, London and West Midlands for girls, young women and non-binary people to attend. Visit their dedicated 10th birthday web page for more information. 

Stemettes has changed the lives of more than 60,000 girls, young women and non-binary people across the UK, Ireland and parts of Europe over the past decade, and continues to provide free support to those who are curious to explore and pursue STEM pathways in sectors at the forefront of innovation.

High profile partners providing mentorship, networking opportunities, behind the scenes access as well as financial backing are wide ranging and include GCHQ, MI5, MI6, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, ASOS, H&M, Prime Video and DeepMind to name a few.

Paul Mills, Chief People Officer, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team said:

“Congratulations to the Stemettes on 10 years of making a real difference to the involvement of young girls in the world of STEM. We are delighted to have been working alongside the Stemettes over the last two years as part of our Accelerate 25 programme to increase the diversity of talent at our own team. Both our employees and the young Stemettes we have worked with so far have shown real passion and enthusiasm for our joint initiatives, and I hope our work together has encouraged more young people to go on to consider STEM for their future education and careers.”

Parent Liz Kent said:

“I discovered Stemettes at the start of the Covid pandemic whilst trying to find useful and educational things for my 14-year-old daughter to do in lockdown. She has had amazing free learning opportunities including Agile and Cyber certifications as well as regular engagement with female role models. As part of the Stemettes society she is building her own network of like-minded peers providing mutual support and encouragement on their respective STEM journeys. My daughter is now well on her way to a career in STEM, something that may well have not happened without Stemettes.”

To help young Stemettes prepare for jobs of the future, it has successfully partnered with leading artificial intelligence company DeepMind to increase AI literacy for girls and non-binary people, introducing 40 young women and non-binary people to a mentor with AI expertise.

In another underrepresented area, women make up just 16% of the UK’s cyber security workforce, so Stemettes now regularly provides free professional cyber security certifications worth thousands of pounds throughout the academic year. Additionally, free Python coding certifications programmes are held during free holiday STEM programmes and HTML workshops at STEM challenge events. 60% of Stemettes alumni are now working in a STEM field at age 26 or above.

STEM Coordinator, Rose Russell from Ursuline Academy School in Ilford said:

“Stemettes has repeatedly been able to connect even some of our most disengaged students, who never felt aligned to some of those subjects and yet have considered and pursued such STEM related careers. Stemettes have given our students access to events /activities that they would not have known about and enabled those who may not have believed – to begin believing in themselves.”

To find out more about Stemettes and its 10th birthday celebrations, please visit:

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