I listened with interest to your piece yesterday on the lack of women in IT yesterday. As a Chartered Engineer myself until entering parliament in 2010 it is a subject dear to my heart, and figures published by the IET today show that in this country only 6% of professional engineers are women– in Lithuania the figure is 55%. But as Dr Sue Black pointed out in her blog your piece seemed to put most of the blame on women for either not applying for the right jobs or not ‘liking’ technology. I feel that is hardly fair, from personal experience and empirical evidence I know that there are many other ways in which girls and women are put off going into and staying in, IT, science and engineering, some of which I explored in an article I wrote on the subject last year, for the Engineer.
Woman’s Hour also need to take its share of the responsibility. How often do you cover engineering and technology? I try to catch Woman’s Hour whenever I can and all I can remember recently is a piece on the history of the domestic appliances which made it clear that the actually technology of, for example, an electric kettle was something no woman could be expected to understand. I bet Dr Black that you would have talked to more women sex workers this year than engineers. Was I right?
I will be touching on this as part of my House of Commons debate on Science coverage in public sector broadcasting which will take place on the 4th of September. If you have any comments on Woman’s Hour’s coverage of science and women I would be very interested.
Chi Onwurah MP
Shadow Minister Innovation, Science and Digital Infrastructure.
Suite 25 7 Pink Lane
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel 0191 232 5838