Women still underrepresented in STEM studies

‘We have to get rid of the notion that technical or science education is only for men,’ says Lederne

There is only a one percent increase in the number of women who chose to study STEM programmes in higher education this year (photo: Pixabay/skeeze)
July 29th, 2020 9:10 am| by Ayee Macaraig
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There are still too few women choosing to take STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) studies, and business leaders want to reverse this trend.

Lederne, the trade union for business leaders, noted that only 33 percent of students admitted to STEM programmes in higher education this year were women. This represents a “very small increase” from last year’s proportion of 32 percent.

The lack of women in STEM programmes was disappointing, said Thomas Christensen, head of education at Lederne.

“We need the sharpest minds in the tech industry to create tomorrow’s technological and digital solutions and help with the sustainable transition. That is why it is important that we also get the women on board,” said Christensen.

Increasing interest
The statement comes after a record 69,529 out of 94,604 applicants were offered places in various programmes of universities across the country, the highest number ever.

To boost the numbers of women in STEM studies, Christensen said that unversities and society must help strengthen women’s interest in the subject by linking it to the climate debate and emphasising aspects such as design, philosophy and sustainability.

“We have to get rid of the notion that technical or science education is only for men. Here we have to start already in primary school with maintaining girls’ interest in STEM,” he said.

More STEM students overall
Factoring in all sexes, there was an increase of 1,380 people or 9 percent of students accepted into STEM programmes this year compared to last year.

This shows that STEM programmes are experiencing a higher increase in enrollment compared to other studies which only saw a 5 percent rise in admissions.

“It is fantastic that more young people have opened their eyes to the so-called STEM education. But I had hoped for a greater development,” Christensen said.