Today is International Women's Day!
The theme is #BreakTheBias which is to focus on promoting the inequalities that women still face in both life and work.
Some industries with the largest inequality are those within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). In Wales, women make up just 25% of ICT roles, and only 10% of Construction, Engineering and Manufacturing Apprentices are women.
Although these figures might seem disheartening, things are changing for the better. To celebrate International Women’s Day we spoke to three women working in STEM industries across North Wales and recognise their great career achievements. . These women are paving the way for the future and breaking the bias that still exists today.
Meet the women of STEM in North Wales: Rhiannon Morgan, Architect, Gwenno Pritchard Evans, Engineer and Robyn Lovelock, Programme Manager.
1)What is your role?
Rhiannon: "I’m an architect working for a company in Anglesey".
Gwenno: "I’m a Project Co-Ordinator for a Safety Engineering Delivery team, I’ve recently qualified as a Chartered Civil Engineer".
Robyn: "I’m Programme Manager for two Growth Deal Programmes, one of which is Innovation in High Value Manufacturing".
2) What was your reason for wanting to get into your current role?
Rhiannon: "I've always wanted to work in design in some way and I love the variety within my job - it's never boring. The company is fortunate to work with many sectors from social care to private housing".
Gwenno: "I wanted to work in this sector as I always loved mathematics in school and I loved being outside. Every day is different, there are so many opportunities for me".
Robyn: "I’ve always been interested in finding innovative solutions to challenges, one of my key objectives for this programme is to work with partners in developing technologies to reduce the impact of climate change - being in this industry feels like I'm making a difference".
3) What is it like being a woman in your work?
Rhiannon: "On the whole, it's been positive. There have been times where some comments have been made but the world has changed a lot since I started working nine years ago. I think people generally think more ‘equally’ today".
Gwenno: "I’ve found it positive. I’ve been supported throughout my career, which has helped me develop my skills and knowledge in becoming a Chartered Engineer.
Robyn: "Generally great, and getting better as awareness of diversity and inclusion has become more widespread. I’m fortunate to be working in a team and with partners who are supportive of women in leadership roles but think all-male teams and conference panels show there is work to do on ensuring this is true across the sector in North Wales and beyond.".
4) What advice would you give to a young woman wanting to work in a STEM related industry?
Rhiannon: "Find an opportunity as soon as you can - to find out whether this industry is for you! Experience is just as valuable as learning in college, so having both gives you a significant advantage".
Gwenno: "Just go for it! There is no shame in trying new opportunities and finding out what works for you. Be ambitious in your goals and recognise that there is no limit to what you can achieve".
Robyn: "Believe in yourself, don’t be scared to voice your opinion, and have confidence in your expertise. We can only #BreakTheBias if all genders recognise the importance of equality in both work and life".
For more information on STEM subjects and how you can start a career in STEM, visit HWB STEM Gogledd