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STEAM Subjects: Gender-balanced Representation

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 26 May 2021

What steps she is taking with the Secretary of State for Education on increasing gender-balanced representation in take up of STEAM subjects. (900673)

The Government are committed to ensuring that more women can take up the opportunities in science and technology. Currently, only one in five of the technology workforce are women, but projects such as the skills bootcamps aim to turn that around. Of the 2,799 attendees at our first bootcamps, 47% were women. In the west midlands, the courses on women in data and women in software were oversubscribed by around four times. We are investing another £43 million to provide another 16,000 places.

Science, technology and biomedicine have been at the forefront of our response to the covid-19 crisis and they will help us on our road to recovery. What steps is my hon. Friend taking to ensure that we get more people into those careers, including stem cell research for women?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right: bioscience is a really important area and never more so than during this pandemic. It is our chemists, our biochemists and our biologists who are leading our way out of covid. The work that we do through our science learning partnerships aims to increase the take-up of triple science at GCSE—chemistry, physics and biology—and that will make sure that more of our young people can become the scientists of the future.