New statistics revealed today have shown that fears of being discriminated against is one of the biggest reasons for LGBTQ+ people not opting for a career in the STEM fields.
The research, which has been conducted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), found that 29% of respondents who identified as LGBTQ+ didn’t go into a career in STEM due to fears of discrimination.
Almost three quarters (74%) of those identifying as LGBTQ+ stated that they had never considered a career within the engineering related fields, showing that much work is necessary in order to squash the disparity of such roles to the community.
To promote the STEM career benefits and to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day on June 23rd, the IET have released a video which is hoped will ‘#SmashStereotypesToBits’ and change attitudes towards the field. In the video, five young women engineers can be seen having a unique pillow fight conducted purely through the power of technology, drones and explosives, turning the typical stereotype on its head.
Those to star in the video are computer scientist and smart cities designer Dr Larissa Suzuki, instrument technician Ellie Wilson, software engineer Nadia Johnson, electrical engineer Dr Ozak Esu, and electronic engineering apprentice Sophie Caffrey.
Jo Foster, IET Diversity and Inclusion Manager, said: “Engineering in the UK suffers from a huge image problem. The research backs up fears that gender stereotyping within STEM careers is alive and well, potentially damaging the diversity of talent coming into the industry. This coupled with the fact that there is an estimated annual shortfall of 59,000 engineering and technicians to fill engineering roles, clearly demonstrates a need for action.
“The IET is one of the world’s largest professional bodies to promote engineering to multiple audiences and we want to continue to utilise our position to raise awareness of this issue. The #SmashStereotypesToBits campaign is one of the ways in which we can achieve this by flipping stereotypes on their head and spreading the message that engineering is a cool and recognised career choice for women.”
“The #SmashStereotypesToBits campaign looks specifically to target women as part of International Women in Engineering Day but we think it’s crucially important that all demographics, minorities and sexualities are encouraged to pursue STEM careers.”
The campaign also comes ahead of the very first International LGBTSTEM Day, which will take place on July 5th. The day is also part of a push to help increase diversity and inclusion in STEM.