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As the world prepares to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, Westbourne School stands proud in its dedication to nurturing an environment where girls flourish in the fields of science and mathematics. Recognising the importance of gender equality in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), we are committed to equipping young girls with the skills, confidence, and role models necessary to excel in traditionally male-dominated domains.

Statistics paint a stark picture of the gender disparity prevalent in STEM industries. Only 34% of STEM graduates are women, and a mere 5% of tech start-ups are owned by women. The ratio of men to women in engineering stands at 5:1, reflecting a significant imbalance in representation. Lack of visible female role models remains one of the primary deterrents for women considering careers in technology. Moreover, gender pay gaps persist, with men in high-tech companies earning 25% more than women. Black women, in particular, are heavily underrepresented in the tech industry, highlighting the urgent need for initiatives promoting diversity and inclusion.
Source: www.womenintech.co.uk

Westbourne sCIENCE

At Westbourne School, our efforts to empower girls in STEM begin early. Through a range of initiatives and events, we strive to ignite a passion for science and mathematics while showcasing the achievements of successful female role models in these fields. One such initiative is our annual International Women in Science Day, where pupils from Reception to Year 6 immerse themselves in workshops and activities led by organisations like Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology (WEST). These experiences expose our pupils to diverse career opportunities in STEM and instil in them the confidence to pursue their interests without gender barriers.

Junior School children at Westbourne School are fortunate to have access to exceptional female role models on Humanities Day, including neurosurgeons, dentists, and scientists. These professionals ignite excitement and curiosity among our pupils, inspiring them to explore the diverse world of careers in Science and Mathematics. Their expertise, passion, and dedication are instrumental and play a vital role in shaping the future of our pupils and opening their minds to endless possibilities. By showcasing these successful women, we not only make our pupils aware that females exist in these areas but also demonstrate that they excel, empowering our girls to pursue their passions without limitations.

Under the guidance of Cordelia King, our Junior School Science coordinator, pupils engage in hands-on experiments and workshops aimed at demystifying science and mathematics. Another cornerstone of our commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM is the Annual Junior School Science Day, which coincides with British Science Week. During this event, children immerse themselves in a full day of science, engineering, and technology activities. Guest speakers, always including at least two female speakers, share their insights and experiences with the pupils. This year, we are honoured to welcome Dr. Lee-Noble and Marta Mirecka, a PhD pupil from Sheffield Hallam University. As part of the day’s activities, children are encouraged to unleash their creativity by drawing a group of scientists or engineers at work. These entries showcase a wide array of STEM careers, with females prominently depicted, further reinforcing our commitment to fostering gender representation and showcasing the diversity of opportunities within the field.

In the realm of mathematics, Matthew Hawker, our Head of Middle School and Maths lead, ensures inclusivity and engagement for all pupils. Through events like Conundrum and Times Tables Rockstars Day, we create an environment where learning is fun, accessible, and devoid of gender stereotypes.

“We pride ourselves on delivering a fair and enriched education to all pupils. Girls are no exception and are exposed to all areas of the curriculum,” says Matthew Hawker. “Together, boys and girls at Westbourne make valued contributions rooted in mutual respect.”

Our efforts yield tangible results. Despite national trends indicating a lack of confidence among girls in STEM subjects, Westbourne’s Attainment and Progress data showcases exceptional achievements. In the academic year 2022/23, with 86% of girls making expected or higher progress in Science and 86% of girls making expected or higher progress in Maths.

Research by Teach First underscores the significance of initiatives like ours in bridging the gender gap in STEM. While girls often outperform boys in STEM subjects at GCSE level, fewer pursue these subjects at advanced levels and beyond. Through quality education, exposure to role models, and inclusive environments, we aspire to inspire the next generation of female leaders in STEM.

With International Women’s Day next week, Westbourne School remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering girls in science and mathematics. This year, as International Women’s Day focuses on #InspireInclusion, Westbourne we reaffirm our dedication to creating a world where every girl feels empowered to pursue her dreams, irrespective of gender stereotypes.



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