The Women’s Engineering Society (W.E.S.) collated a wealth of knowledge and facts on the representation of women in the UK labour force. With some stark reading, there is much work to be done, not least by raising the profile of women in the workplace to a male audience. This would allow a more secular united effort to equalize the labour force conundrum in specialist vital technical and senior management roles. But here we are concentrating on STEM specifically. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths. Traditionally these fields have been the most dominated by a male workforce.
The UK is not performing well on the European or global stage but there have been improvements over the last 2-3 yrs.
The W.E.S. states that:
-The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, at less than 10%, while Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus lead with nearly 30%.
-15.1% of engineering undergraduates in the UK in 2017 are women. Compared with India: where over 30% of engineering students are women.
Significant advances have been made over the last decade and the WES has been capturing the statistics whilst also providing a great forum to support the brave women already in those fields and the braver ones bucking the trend to get in now.
Although at iOLa & eFFi Brand our clothes are targeting the 1-10 yrs age groups, we believe there is significant work that we can be doing in terms of bringing prints that relate to the real world to inspire and motivate girls to aspire to be scientists, engineers, mathematicians and so on, by presenting the roles and vocations that rely on those disciplines; roles like Pilots, Chemists, Space adventurers, Geologists & Mechanics.
They can still have girly styled clothes collection, that isn’t gender neutral but specific to girls to show how they are present in this world and appeals to their interests. They don’t need saving all the time, they don’t sit daydreaming about unicorns and chasing rainbows unless maybe they are financial gurus searching for the next Start-up unicorn or meteorologists :)
What we do think is pretty clear is that,
-as half the world’s population is female, and
-the onset of technology and the digital revolution for solving problems, providing opportunities or creating new industries continues at a fast pace,
-the need for technical skills such as designers, technicians and engineers is growing, but graduates for these roles are increasingly not available.
So, the contribution and power of having a more secular diversified workforce to contribute to these aspects of our global future are paramount. A problem shared is a problem halved and potentially half solved with more diversified experience to call upon. A more diverse and equal society and contribution to the growth of the world economy has benefits for everyone. At Davos earlier in 2019, at the World Economic Forum, Standard & Poor (the world’s leading financial credit rating agency) released a study that stated:
“if the labour force participation rate of women was that of men the US economy would be 8.7% larger, the French economy would be 14% greater and the Japanese 17%.”
In the UK the WES collated the statistics for 2017 and calculated that:
-Engineering Contributes 26% of the country’s GDP or £127.5 Billion
-Enabling women to reach their full potential in work could add as much as £27 Trillion in annual GDP by 2025.
In the UK FTSE market listing it has been shown consistently in the last few years that businesses with a higher proportion of gender diverse executive decision makers have a better all-around business performance in every metric. If we can inspire and motivate the girls who are now learning to read and write about how the world is their oyster and, more importantly, let boys see the girls doing things, wearing things and saying things that relate to traditionally male or boy dominated themes then there will be gender equality growing as they grow.
The UK based National Centre for Universities and Business created a talent dashboard back in 2012 for targets for women in engineering in the UK by 2030. And some targets have been hit already or are very close. But there is much more work to be done and it’s the children that are 1 -10 yrs. of age right now that will be our engineers of the future.
When we look around the world for the best examples of how this can be achieved; the Scandinavian region excels. The WEF regularly records the Scandinavian regions at the top of the list for gender parity education, in the workplace, in their legal rights and gender parity in the near future. No country has achieved 1 to 1 but they are closer than anyone else. Some surprising other countries are in the top 10 which would suggest that it is not an exclusive club of the affluent, advanced developed nations that can make significant strides towards parity without massive GDP and Sovereign Wealth. Rwanda, Nicaragua, Philippines & Namibia split New Zealand and Ireland for positions 4 to 10.
So there is drive, passion and a path that we can take, that isn’t extortionately expensive and the more we can equalize the childhood environment for girls to believe they can actually be and do anything they set their mind to, and the boys see it as normal, then we at iOLa & eFFi believe, collectively we’ll be well on the way to creating a brighter, fair future for our girls. We believe that our clothing can send a strong message about a girls’ thoughts, wishes, interests and desires and there will be like-minded girls that will recognize this and want to be part of the trend, and we’re not the first nor do we want to be the last.
Making this movement stronger and vibrant with a passion for encouraging girls to be their best version of themselves. We are part of a growing movement and just buying our clothes, stopping by at our website and signing up to the community is a great start to further the opportunities for our girls to have the right environment with clothes that show them they CAN!, rather than them fostering feelings that they can’t.
Below is a snapshot of some other interesting stats and links to our sources to generate this blog. We hope that you find a little time to absorb them.