Award-winning charity Everton in the Community has celebrated International Day of Women and Girls in Science with a day of action to tackle a major gender gap in the industry.
Taking place at Goodison Park on 9 February, the event included a series of interactive workshops and presentations from leading companies AstraZeneca, Everton Football Club, Creative Hut and the Royal Institution.
The sessions aimed to excite and inspire young women to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and careers where they are currently unrepresented.
Female students from across Merseyside were invited from four of the charity’s partner secondary schools, as well as girls from its 41 Goodison programme, which offers males and females, aged eight to 19 years old from the region the opportunity to make significant, lasting life changes.
It comes as an inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM investigating Equity in the STEM workforce found that only 27% of the UK STEM workforce in 2019 were women, compared to 52% of the wider workforce.
UCAS also reported that only 35% of STEM students in higher education in the UK are women, highlighting the low numbers extend into education.
Mick King, Sport Education and Development Manager for Everton in the Community, said:
“We are incredibly passionate about holding events which empower women as part of our wider vision and commitment to helping young people in Merseyside reach their full potential.
“We are working at grassroots level to break down some of the barriers that young girls face in pursuing careers in STEM and this event helped to highlight some of those inspiring women in science who are making a huge positive impact in the world. We hope this has challenged some of the perceptions and stereotypes of those who joined us on the day.
“The pandemic and global climate crisis has shown us just how important scientists are in helping the planet and we’re extremely grateful to the presenters who gave up their time to speak to pupils, answer their questions and, most importantly, show them the endless possibilities that lay ahead of them with a career in STEM.”
John Whitfield, Digital Training Business Partner for AstraZeneca, added:
“Supporting STEM for school children in our local community is a passion for AstraZeneca Liverpool. STEM is a critical component of a well-rounded education and by ensuring there is a focus on it, we are investing in the future workforce. We want to help build a passion for STEM subjects, which will help prepare students from our local schools to be our scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians of the future.
“AstraZeneca are immensely proud to be partnering with Everton in the Community and are excited to be supporting the ‘International Day of Women and Girls in Science’ event at Goodison Park. We are looking forward to collaborating on further events in 2023, and helping to ensure we are supporting STEM in the heart of our community.”
The event follows Everton in the Community’s launch of the region’s first Digital Skills Lab at The People’s Hub on Spellow Lane in November 2022. As a result, students from schools across Merseyside now have free access to resources to close a widening skills gap between disadvantaged children and STEM careers.
For more information about the work of Everton in the Community visit www.evertoninthecommunity.org