Happy International Women’s Day! Today the global community will take the time to celebrate the economic, cultural, social and political achievements women have made across a number of areas.
This year’s theme calls for people to #BeBoldForChange in order to make the working world a better and fairer environment for women and also to change the dialogue and attitudes we have when it comes to different areas like relationships, education and belief systems.
The official website encourages people to pledge their support to take bold action in a number of areas. These include:
As a company, we strive to encourage and inspire people back into education and adopt a lifelong learning mindset. Furthermore, we’re strong believers that we shouldn’t be limited to certain careers because of our gender. There’s absolutely nothing wrong if a woman wishes to be a mathematician or if a man wants to be a make-up artist.
According to our data, since the start of 2017, 59.6% of our users searching for courses were women. If we delve even further into the world of analytics, we can see that the top three subjects that they rank for is pottery, cake decorating and cookery.
Yes, these are female focused areas, however it is interesting to see that men also rank third for cookery and fourth for pottery. Gender bias across a number of industries can put women off from pursuing a passion they’re talented in and in 2017, this shouldn’t be a factor.
Statistics from WISE regarding women in the STEM workforce in 2016 revealed a mixed picture.
‘Whilst it is positive to see an increase of 13,000 more women working in core STEM occupations, the proportion of the workforce made up by women has decreased from 22% to 21% since 2015,’ the WISE website states.
Women in professional ICT roles remained at 18% with the number of women entering this field has kept up with the pace of growth. However, the percentage of women in technical IT roles has grown from 18% to 19%.
There is still work to be done in order to encourage growth in other areas though. The number of science professionals suffered an 18% loss in women dropping from 50% to 41%. This drop represented over 14,000 individuals. Further studies have found that the ‘leave rates for women in science, engineering, and technology peak about 10 years into their careers,’ according to Catalyst’s Knowledge Centre.
This is down to hostile male-dominated areas, workplace culture impeding on career progression and ineffective executive feedback.
Turning our attention to statistics within business, in 2016 WISE looked at the number of women on the board of FTSE100 companies and found there was an increase of 3.3% in female directors at STEM companies – a positive statistic but one that lagged behind the percentage of female directors in non-STEM companies which stood at 8.5%.
We’re hopeful that change is happening though. There are a number of organisations like our friends at the Stemettes who work tirelessly to encourage and inspire girls into STEM fields by running fun and engaging workshops.
Meanwhile on Hotcourses, we continue to work and collaborate with organisations that advocate equality for all. We’ve even featured some incredible interviewees like Julie Wood, who is a fellow at the Institution of Civil Engineering, which is a benchmark for people who have practised at the top level of civil engineering.
It’s important to not let society dictate what you can and cannot do professionally. We all have the capacity to train and qualify in whatever area we wish to work in. So, what are you waiting for?
What do you ultimately dream of doing? Start your journey by having a search for a beginner’s course in what you’re most passionate about.
Safeera is Editor of Whatuni and a journalist from Kingston University. Always the inquisitive, her writing spans across a number of areas such as sustainability, fashion, lifestyle and now education. Her belief that you never stop learning and passionate nature has taken her to New York City as part of her degree and across the airwaves on national radio talking about the issues that matter to her.