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STEM Jobs: Women

Volume 729: debated on Wednesday 15 March 2023

6. What steps she is taking to increase the number of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs. (904139)

Since 2016, Innovate UK’s women in innovation in programme has been empowering women in innovation. Since the launch of the campaign, the number of women leading applications for grants to Innovate UK has risen by 70%.

Today, women make up less than 30% of the STEM workforce, and the Government’s own findings reveal vast inequalities for women in the R&D sector. The creation of this Department presents a key opportunity to tackle the issue head on, so will the Secretary of State commit to bold action to finally reach a 50:50 STEM workforce?

We made this a key part of our science and technology framework because it is absolutely essential that we are empowering and enabling individuals and creating those skills from the off. UKRI has already funded STEM inspiration programmes such as the STEM ambassadors. There are a lot of initiatives that I could take the hon. Lady through, but obviously we are short on time. We are trying our very best to encourage women and to level the playing field.

The Secretary of State for Business and Trade welcomed a trade delegation of more than 40 women who run technology and science businesses in Canada at a business event at Lancaster House yesterday. Does my right hon. Friend agree that support for women in tech across the globe should be an important part of all our international trade work?

I absolutely agree, and I believe that the event yesterday went very well. It is also important that we look at our global role models who are British, such as Professor Dame Angela McLean, who will become the first female Government chief scientific adviser, Dr Nicola Fox and Rosemary Coogan. All those people are flying the flag for women in STEM.