Welsh Government accepts plans to boost number of women working in tech

Julie James, the minister for skills and science, has announced plans to increase the number of women and girls in Wales studying STEM subjects and pursuing careers in tech.

Last week, the minister announced that the Welsh Government has accepted all the recommendations outlined in the ‘Talented Women for a Successful Wales’ report.

She will outline government plans at a special Wise (Women in Science, Technology and Engineering) event. It’ll take place in the Senedd on March 13th.

The Princess Royal, Anne, will attend the event as the organisation’s official patron. It’ll celebrate and promote the value of women in Wales and highlight the report.

Commissioned and published by the Welsh Government last year, the report aims to tackle the shortage of women working in STEM roles in Wales and across the rest of the UK.

Led by Professor Julie Williams, Wales’s chief scientific advisor, it identifies the need for a major change of attitude across society when it comes to women working in technology.

It outlines the need for the industry to break down existing barriers and create a skilled workforce in a bid to support the economic future of Wales as a devolved nation within the UK.

There are 33 recommendations in total, all of which deal with the under-representation and poor retention of women in STEM in Wales. It considers four major themes of education, recruitment, retention and promotion.

Speaking of the recommendations mentioned in the report, Julie James AM said: “Science underpins innovation and technology developments and is essential for economic growth and creating high-quality jobs.

“That is why we have already invested more than £100m in recent years to increase Wales’ research capacity and why we are supporting all of the recommendations in this report to encourage more women and girls to pursue STEM skill opportunities.

“Our ‘STEM in Education and Training: A Delivery Plan for Wales’ (2016) already outlines our commitment to improving the participation of girls in STEM.

“And our Education Directorate has made prioritising girls’ progression in maths, physics and computing, and made gender balance in STEM education a condition of grant funding.”

The government has also confirmed that it plans to provide 30 hours of free early education and childcare to working parents of three and four year olds across Wales.

This new policy, the government hopes, will give women the time to develop and pursue careers in technology and other critical growth areas.

The minister added: “While these are all positive developments, we recognise more can be done to understand the issues affecting girls’ progression in STEM.”