Imperial to improve female representation in STEM fields
STEM fields are currently facing a critical shortage of female representation.
It has been found that only 3% of students enrolling in information and communication technology (ICT) courses across the globe are female. That improves slightly to 5% for mathematics and statistics courses. The numbers are slightly better with 8% for engineering courses.
According to data from the UN Scientific Education and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), fewer than 30% of researchers worldwide are women and only 30% of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.
Female representation in some fields fares more poorly than others. For instance, in the computer science field, the gender gap leaves much to be desired. Females only make up 30% of master’s degrees and 20% of the doctorate degree holders.
The engineering field faces a similar challenge where females make up a mere 25% of master’s degrees and 23% of the doctorate degree holders.
This results in a lack of overall diversity in the field.
The 2015 UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030 report states that women are expected to account for 53% of the world’s bachelor’s and master’s graduates in STEM fields.
In an effort to fulfill this goal, the British Council announced that it is offering postgraduate scholarships that support women who aim to specialise in STEM fields.
The scholarship programme is possible through a partnership with 19 UK universities and aims to benefit women from the Americas, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
The scholarship will provide an opportunity for recipients to study for a master’s degree in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programme at a leading UK university.
This new initiative is fully funded by the British Council and designed to enable more women to pursue scientific study at top universities.
The Imperial College London is one such institution that is offering scholarships for international female scientists from countries in the Americas.
The scholarships will be offered for a range of master’s courses in areas including Health and Life-Sciences, Climate Change, Energy Transition, Environment, Agriculture, and Industry 4.0.
This initiative will provide full scholarships that will cover full tuition fees, monthly stipends, a return economy class ticket, and other study-related costs such as English exam fees, visa application, and NHS surcharge to successful applicants.
Imperial’s Vice President, Professor Maggie Dallman said that Imperial is a world-leading STEM university with a reputation for internationalism and impact and is perfectly suited to host these new scholarships.
Imperial has the highest proportion of world-leading and internationally excellent research of any UK university.
The institution also boasts of having strong connections with many countries in the Americas as well as research partnerships with other universities and industry, The university also has a thriving alumni network.
“From our work in local schools and communities to our international partnerships and outreach we are determined to do more to support women and girls working in STEM fields,” Dallman said.
The scholarships will enable female scientists to study on a range of excellent courses aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Successful applicants will also benefit from programmes such as WE Innovate, an entrepreneurship programme with a goal to increase the number of women in leadership positions, running start-ups, and raising funding.