The Guide provides data on a number of indicators from the areas of education, employment, pay, leadership and public engagement. It reflects our commitment to providing the evidence needed to inform policy and bring about change. The Guide is published at a time of particular need. The under-representation of women in SET is increasingly seen as an issue affecting economic growth and productivity. In addition, research suggests that diverse teams that include men and women are important to innovation and economic development. Women have a vital role to play alongside their male colleagues in generating new solutions, opportunities, products and services. At the same time, employers report skills gaps in many areas of SET.
Thousands of skilled scientists, engineers, ICT professionals and technical personnel are needed to build a more sustainable economic future. The failure to include and promote women represents a loss of talent and lack of fairness across our society. The under-representation of women in SET stands out starkly in our Guide. Another area of concern is also illustrated clearly: the continuing ‘leaky pipeline’, where women in SET education and employment leave their careers and struggle or fail to return. Alongside these major challenges, the Guide presents a complex picture, detailing a multilayered interplay between gender and other factors such as ethnicity and disability, types of occupations and industries, and educational and employment career stages. At the UKRC we work closely with employers, policy makers, professional bodies, academics and women themselves to bring about gender equality in SET.
We therefore know there is a growing demand for evidence-based solutions – strengthened, in recent years, by gender equality legislation that has increased awareness of equality issues and widespread commitment to change. Reliable statistical information about occupational gender segregation in the UK is essential. It enables practitioners, policy makers, employers, researchers and activists to review the current situation, measure progress and identify where the strengths, gaps and challenges lie. It is needed to underpin planning and prioritisation. And, importantly, it enables individuals and organisations to monitor and instigate change. I hope this guide will provide you with the information you need to plan and introduce change, and to inform and inspire others.