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The Princess Royal presents the 2016 WISE Awards

On Thursday evening, Anne, The Princess Royal along with 500 guests attended the WISE Awards 2016. Here, eight women, one man and one company were recognised for their contributions to balancing the gender gap in the fields of science, technology and engineering.

The glitzy ceremony was held in the Grand Connaught Rooms in London. The Princess Royal serves as its Royal Patron. WISE is an organisation that encourages women and girls to take up careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, (STEM). WISE campaigns to get more women in to these fields.

As expressed by guest speaker, WISE chair and Microsoft Managing Director, Trudy Norris-Grey in her passionate speech: “We are in the midst of the fourth revolution but girls are being left behind because too many drop maths and science at 16 – we must reverse this trend. Men are taking up these new jobs at a much greater rate than women. Don’t stand on the sidelines, join us so that we can move forward at scale and at pace and not let girls and women be left behind.”

But there wasn’t any shortage of women left behind at the evening’s event. Some of the award recipients included Dr Ying Cheong, Professor Clare Elwell and Yvonne Bennett who work in the fields of fertility and infant brain activation to assist in identifying autism and ‘neuro-linguistic programming to improve success rates of health and safety.’

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Anne-Gaelle Colom and Amali de Alwis were all awarded for their impact in ‘microbial research, open source software and coding for girls.’ Tom Jones was awarded the ‘Man of the Year’ award for his work in Amec Foster Wheeler.

While she presented the awards, The Princess Royal said: “Technology is transforming the world of work. If we want girls to have the best possible futures in these careers, we need to make sure they have the skills and qualifications required. More importantly, if we want the best possible future for our country, we need to be using the talents of the whole population.”

Chief executive of WISE, Helen Wollaston, said: “Every year only 20,000 young women leave education with the qualifications to work in science, technology and engineering. That’s only 7% of those who take GCSE maths and science. I see that as a huge opportunity. Our winners show these girls the joy and rewards of science, technology and maths.”

She continued by saying these award-winners are models for other up-in-coming young women to look up to: “The winners are living proof of the contribution women make to innovation, safety and business performance.”

She explained how these award recipients stood amongst all the others: “These successes had three critical ingredients. Leaders of these organisations recognise that getting more women into these careers is about good business, not some ‘nice to have’. Clear goals have been set and measured. They stood out for their energy and determination to make a difference, which is inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.”

You can read the full list of the WISE Awards 2016 here:

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