International Women's Day is a global day to celebrate the achievements of women and the theme #BalanceforBetter is a call-to-action to help drive gender balance across the world.
At BP, many of the jobs in our company and in our supply chain rely on STEM skills, which historically have attracted more men than women. In the UK, just 22% of roles in core STEM occupations are held by women, a number that falls to 12% in professional engineering roles and 16% for IT professionals.
BP recognizes that it is vital to make a real impact on girls and encourage them to pursue a STEM career in order to help to reduce the STEM skills gap in the UK and tackle the issue of gender inequality. So today’s event was a great opportunity to showcase the real women behind the science.
The day was really interactive, filled with discussions, careers talks and networking. The girls were taken on a tour of our research facility, met different teams based on site and learnt about some of the incredible kit used in our working labs and test centres.
Science teacher, Clare Oakes, said she hoped the day would help to raise awareness of the range of careers available in the STEM field and in organisations such as BP, and that it encourages students to pursue science as a career path beyond GCSE.
They had fun describing their ideas of “What an engineer, a scientist, or a business person was like” and of course there were some fantastic responses like engineers wear dungarees, and business people are lonely as they live far from home. After spending the day with our teams we hope we helped them to challenge their pre-conceptions!
For Dave Taylor, community manager at Pangbourne, nothing is more enjoyable than bringing in students to his work for the day and he says that age 13-14 is the ideal age for experiences like this. It’s a point in their education where they may need additional support and may benefit most from contact with inspirational role models.
BP has worked with schools for over 50 years. We focus on creating experiences that will have real impact on young people – we work with students from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of attainment in order to promote aspiration and inclusion. International Women’s Day is a great way to express this and to celebrate the future of STEM.
To find out more about BP’s commitment to STEM education and what you can do to help close the STEM skills gap, go to bp.com/STEM.