Ada Lovelace Day
Be inspired on Ada Lovelace Day
Tuesday 15 October is Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. Born in 1815 Ada Lovelace is thought to be the first computer programmer. Finding Ada is a website resource dedicated to encouraging individuals and organisations to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM.
It aims to highlight the plethora of women in all areas of STEM and ensure there is a bank of visible role models to inspire girls and women interested in pursuing a career in science and technology.
In Scotland, there is a strong history of nurturing talent in scientific and technological development and a burgeoning realisation that economic growth requires a critical mass of highly skilled and talented workforce in STEM industries. However, the attrition rate of women remains startlingly high, where over 70% of women with STEM qualifications are not working in STEM compared to 48% of men with the same qualifications. The reasons why women leave the STEM pipeline are well rehearsed and it is often due to a toxic combination of balancing work with caring responsibilities, feeling undervalued in a male-dominated environment or funding models for R&D being too rigid to accommodate maternity leave.
There is a supply issue too, where there are low number of girls and women entering STEM education and training, partly due to the gender stereotyping of women and men's capabilities. In 2012 in Scotland, 87% of those studying engineering and technology at university were men, and yet at the same time engineering is one of the occupational groups which employers are finding difficult to source sustainably.
The estimated cost of gendered occupational segregation to the Scottish economy is approximately £170 million per year.
Employers, employer representative bodies, education and training institutions all have a role to play in recouping this loss to the Scottish economy and ensure that the barriers to women's participation in STEM education, training and the wider workforce are tackled.
Ada Lovelace Day is a celebration of the achievements of women in STEM, and should serve as a reminder of the cost of failing to attract and retain women in these industries.
Be inspired and spread the word about the stories and achievements of women in STEM.
Close the Gap is supporting the Women in Renewable Energy Scotland network (WiRES) and has recently been awarded Big Lottery Funding to support a programme of work to develop the capacity of women in the renewable energy sector. To get involved and find out more please contact email@example.com , WiRES Development Officer.
To find out more about how to support women in STEM, visit the Scottish Resource Centre for Women in SET.
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