Women in STEM careers

25 June 2013

The "leaky pipeline" is used to describe the continuous loss of women at consecutive career stages within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). These gradual losses reduce the numbers of women retained in STEM further education and work

More young people of both genders are now studying STEM subjects up to GCSE but female participation starts dropping off at A-level. Climbing up the academic career ladder, women are increasingly underrepresented in STEM. A 2012 European Commission study found that around 42 per cent of UK academic staff are women but at the most senior research grade it is around 17 per cent, below the EU average.

The Science and Technology Committee has agreed to hold an inquiry into women in academic STEM careers and seeks written submissions on the following matters:

  • Why do numbers of women in STEM academic careers decline further up the career ladder? 
  • When women leave academia, what careers do they transition into? What are the consequences of scientifically trained women applying their skills in different employment sectors?
  • What should universities and the higher education sector do to retain women graduates and PhD students in academic careers? Are there examples of good practice?
  • What role should the Government have in encouraging the retention of women in academic STEM careers?

Submitting written evidence

As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submission of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be sent online.

The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing. The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act. We may also ask you to comment on the process of submitting evidence via the web portal so that we can look to make improvements. If you have any queries or concerns about the collection and use of this information or do not wish your details to be used for the purpose of collecting feedback, please advise the Committee providing your full name, address, and if relevant your organisation.
The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by midday on Tuesday 3 September 2013.

Each submission should:

  1. be no more than 3,000 words in length 
  2. be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible 
  3. have numbered paragraphs 
  4. include a declaration of interests.

If you need to send a paper copy please send it to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA
Please note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised. 
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

More information on submitting evidence to Select Committees

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