Only 10% of new enrollees in technology, engineering, and mathematics VET are women

Only 10% of new enrollees in technology, engineering, and mathematics VET are women

  • A study shows that the percentage rises slightly, to 8%, when they enroll in university science degrees.
  • Fundación Iberdrola España, EMT, and the Universidad Pontífica de Comillas are developing this Chair to promote the presence of women in vocational training studies related to these subjects.

Madrid. December 15th, 2021

The delegate of the Environment and Mobility Area, Borja Carabante, the managing director of Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid, Alfonso Sánchez, and the president of Fundación Iberdrola España, Fernando García, have participated in the presentation of the main conclusions of the STEM Women Chair that took place in the Conecta Lab at Comillas Pontifical University.

Under the acronym STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), this public-private initiative was born due to the limited presence of women in these four subjects in the world of professional training. On the one hand, this Chair aims to find the causes of this situation, and on the other, to raise awareness among the educational community and the business community of women’s potential in these professional profiles.

Some of the report’s conclusions highlight the need to attract female talent to STEM fields of study to reduce the current gap and balance the employment rate, which is lower among women.

In general, STEM VET studies are chosen by very few young people. This leads to the labor market subsequently failing to find professionals to meet its needs. Another of the situations reflected in the report is the dropout of students at the end of an intermediate VET degree, instead of continuing their training and specialization.

According to data held by the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, out of every 100 VET students who choose STEM studies, only three are girls. This proportion is also low – eight out of every 100 – in those young people who choose STEM-related university degrees. Some of the reasons given to explain this situation are misinformation within families, gender bias, teachers’ and guidance counselors’ susceptibility, and stereotypes, among others.

Studies focused on the future needs of the labor market in Spain indicate that STEM professions likely to offer quality employability for women will grow by 14% in the coming years. Specifically, the mobility and sustainability sector is considered as a future alternative for women to obtain stable jobs with good professional projection.

For its part, the STEM Women Chair has programmed for the 2021-22 academic year numerous activities and initiatives aimed at students, families, and guidance counselors, such as talks, conferences, and workshops in-person and online. Last year, Queen Letizia held an audience with representatives of the promoting entities to inquire about the initiative.

This initiative, which has been supported by EMT, Madrid City Council, and Fundación Iberdrola España, has arisen to highlight the importance of vocational training in boosting the employability of women in fields where their presence is still low, such as science and mathematics.

In attendance at the presentation ceremony were the Vice-Rector for Institutional Relations at Comillas Pontifical University, Federico de Montalvo; the Director of the STEM Women Chair, Yolanda González, and the Director of the Foundations Committee of the Iberdrola Group, Ramón Castresana.

Representing the student community were: Adriana Delgado, Extraordinary Baccalaureate Award of the Community of Madrid and of the Degree in Industrial Technologies Engineering and Business Administration and Management of the University of Comillas; Ana Alum, student of double Degree in Data Engineering and Telecommunications Engineering of the University Carlos III – recognized as the best STEM student in Spain; Marta Solís, student of IES Humanejos, and Leandra Serrano, student of the Higher Degree in Aeromechanical Maintenance of Turbine Engine (dual mode), have represented the student collective in this event.

The closure of the meeting was overseen by the delegate of Environment and Mobility, Borja Carabante.