On 13 March, business leaders, academics and members of the Welsh Government joined up at the Senedd, Cardiff to try and boost the number of women in STEM(science, technology, engineering, and maths). Also joining them was the Princess Royal.
The WISE celebration of Talented Women brings together influential people who are backing a Welsh Governmental report to address STEM skill shortages by encouraging more women to get involved in STEM subjects.
Helen Wollaston, chief executive of WISE, said: “Wales has an impressive number of female scientists in top positions, including the Chief Scientific Adviser and the newly appointed deputy vice-chancellor at Cardiff University. They are living proof that choosing science opens doors.”
Helen added: “Today’s event is an opportunity for us all to work with the Welsh Government, education and industry to get a positive message out to the next generation of girls in Wales and their families, inspiring them to choose science, technology and engineering for a brighter future.”
The report, Talented Women for a Successful Wales, was commissioned by Professor Julie Williams who is Chief Scientific Advisor for Wales. She chaired a Q&A with business leaders on the day.
The report highlighted current challenges in education. These include issues such as few primary school teachers having STEM backgrounds. As well as that, it highlighted the lack of girls taking up subjects like physics at secondary school; which leads to women working less than one in six STEM jobs.
Panel discussions included a talk from Trudy Norris-Grey, chair of Wise and a top official at Microsoft. As well as Helen Samuels, director of engineering at Network Rail and La-Chun Lindsay at GE Aviation Wales.
The Princess Royal has been a Patron of WISE since 2000. During the event, she met 50 girls from eight Welsh schools who were taking part in People Like Me sessions. These courses allow girls to define themselves by adjectives to show them that people like them are happy and successful working in STEM careers.