On Ada Lovelace Day – a day of international celebration of the achievements of women in STEM – more than 200 female school pupils visited Nationwide’s offices in Swindon, Northampton, Bournemouth and London, to find out more about STEM roles.
The aim is to change the way this field is perceived by giving them the opportunity to hear from female employees talking about their careers and STEM roles within the world of financial services. Swindon pupils visited Nationwide’s new Innovation Lab and find out more about how the team is developing and testing new technology, so customers can use the latest digital innovations to access Nationwide’s services.
Rowena Harwar, Head of Programme Architecture at Nationwide, who started off her career on the Nationwide Graduate Scheme, commented: “We want to challenge the stereotype that jobs involving science, technology, engineering and maths are male dominated careers. We have plenty of women at Nationwide who use their STEM-based degrees every day, often in surprising roles. We want to share these with local female pupils so they too can challenge these stereotypes and contemplate a career path which they may not have considered before. This event is about shifting perceptions and marking the day with local pupils by celebrating Ada Lovelace – a pioneer in the technology field.”
According to a report carried out by the University and Colleges Admissions Services in January this year¹, women are underrepresented in certain STEM-related careers. It found that more than 85 percent of candidates on engineering or computer science courses in 2014 were men. Also, in research carried out last year² by WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), it was found that although women do represent 46 percent of the labour market, only 13 percent are STEM professionals.
Mrs Wills, a teacher of Technology and Engineering at Nova Hreod Academy in Swindon, commented: “It is great that Nova Hreod are involved in the Ada Lovelace Day at Nationwide, as it is a good opportunity for students to experience the diverse career options available through STEM subjects. I feel that it is important to encourage more female students into STEM subjects as many do not realisethe full potential of careers that STEM subjects can lead to. Days like the Ada Lovelace Day break down barriers and show girls the possibilities available.” Isabelle, aged 13 and a student who currently attends Nova Hreod Academy, commented: “I would like to be either a mechanical or chemical engineer. There are more men than women in STEM careers, but there are lots of successful women in engineering and maths. I do not think that STEM subjects should be seen as male careers.”