Government and industry urged to drive forward action to increase female representation in science, technology, engineering and maths careers

More needs to be done to boost the number of women following career paths in science, technology, engineering and maths, according to Jo Swinson.

The Women and Equalities minister is therefore calling on experts from the academic and business sector to kick-start a new focus on getting more women and girls involved with the subjects. Despite the fact that women now represent 46% of the UK's workforce, they only account for 15.5% of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (Stem) workforce.

This percentage, however, excludes medicine, which does have a high representation of women.

Just 8% of engineering professionals are female while a tiny 12% of engineering and technology undergraduates are women, even though there are more women graduating from university than men.

"Although we know girls out-perform boys at school, this does not always translate into future success in their working lives. While there are more women in work than ever before Stem is still a male dominated world," said Ms Swinson.

"Women are seriously under-represented in this sector, particularly in engineering. Not only are women missing out on what can be a highly rewarding career, but UK companies are missing out on a huge pool of talent."

She recently met with leading professionals from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society, STEMNET, WISE, Women's Engineering Society and LadyGeek to discuss what can be done to address the current situation.

Key recommendations of the Women's Business Council report include encouraging more business leaders to become STEM ambassadors, promoting best practice from schools, and engaging with and getting support from business and schools.

It claims the Government has a big role to play in getting more women to take up jobs in the science, technology, engineering and maths arenas.

Copyright Press Association 2013