Research reveals want of role models

New research has been published to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day that has found that 61% of schoolgirls want to see more women role models to encourage them into science-based careers.

The study, commissioned by children’s rights charity Plan International and supercar maker McLaren Automotive, also found that three-quarters  (75%) of schoolgirls are interested in a STEM career yet over a quarter (27%) said they worry about being good enough to study STEM subjects.

International Women in Engineering Day also marks the first year of the global partnership between Plan International and McLaren Automotive that aims to support, empower, and inspire the next generation to reach their full potential.

Together, Plan International and McLaren aim to tackle the gender stereotypes that the research highlights which prevent young people – especially girls – from pursuing STEM careers.

McLaren has pledged to hold educational, skills-based workshops for 1,000 girls by 2025 to help create more opportunities for them to take-up STEM careers.

The first of these workshops was jointly delivered with Plan International last week at McLaren, with Ella Podmore MBE on-hand to give the attendees from local schools her perspective on what it is like as a woman in an automotive career. Students were also put through their paces with a range of exercises with McLaren engineers and designers to test their aptitude and hone their skills.

Mandeep Dhatt, Executive Director of HR, McLaren Automotive, said: “International Women in Engineering Day is vital to help focus attention on the importance of encouraging our young people to explore pursuing STEM educational and career options that are open to them. Yet the study jointly commissioned with Plan International shows that we have no room for complacency in smashing negative and persistent gender stereotypes that can hold our young people back.”

The research was released as 14-year-old Plan International youth activist and STEM enthusiast, Amelie, unveiled a one-off, vibrant design of the McLaren Artura hybrid supercar at the McLaren Technology Centre.