Maths4Girls – Inviting role models into your classroom
What percentage of the STEM workforce is female?
At GCSE, girls and boys achieve similar grades, with girls slightly outperforming boys by a few percentage points - yet only 14% of the STEM workforce is female. STEM careers are one of the fastest growing sectors, and this trend is only set to continue with the rise of Big Data, AI and digitalisation. We want all our pupils to seriously consider a career in STEM and to not feel excluded in any way - if girls can see successful women in STEM careers it will help break down invisible barriers and broaden the horizons of all your pupils.
Female role models
Many teachers introduce female role models via using YouTube videos or links to written career profiles like the ones which are found on the MathsCareers website. This is a great start, but what about getting real live role models into your classroom? Unless you have the perfect family friend who is willing to come into your school then it can feel daunting inviting a role model to speak with your pupils.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to find a female professional who is willing to visit your school. (Or take part in a live online event for your pupils.) Maths4Girls is a free initiative which matches role models with schools. Crucially all the role models will also have received some training as part of the programme. The best first step is to watch their three-minute intro video, Maths4Girls: A career insight & inspiration programme, which explains how it works.
What type of event should I run?
Once you have decided to invite a female role model into your school, you will need to think about what type of event you will run. Do you want them to speak in assembly? Will they talk to your A-level classes or younger age groups? Will they take part in a wider event such as a careers fair or off-timetable careers day? Are they willing to speak to more than one group? Is your department and senior leadership on board? Have you sorted out any important paperwork? Do you have an exciting vision and title for your event?
Attend a Maths4Girls webinar
All these questions may seem daunting, especially if you are new to teaching. Luckily, Maths4Girls run regular 30-minute webinars for teachers who are interested in getting involved. This is probably the simplest way to get all your questions answered - the webinars run monthly, and you can book a free place on one of their Educator Webinars without any commitment.
What about the boys?
Meeting a female role model is not only going to benefit the girls in your school, but it will also be important for the boys. For a start, meeting someone from the world of work helps to bring maths alive for everybody. A lot of pupils love maths for its own sake, but it is always helpful to see where it could be heading and what types of jobs it could lead to. Female role models will also challenge boys to see STEM subjects as being for everybody, which will be important as they progress through their education and careers.
Gatsby Career Benchmarks
Inviting a Maths4Girls role model into school will also help you meet the government’s Gatsby Career Benchmarks. It definitely feels good when you are doing something worthwhile for your pupils and satisfying DfE statutory guidance at the same time!
There are some fantastic quotes on the Maths4Girls website which show the impact of the scheme. Hopefully they will inspire you to give it a go:
“My daughter’s interaction with the Maths4Girls reps has completely changed her view on the value of maths - she is now considering doing maths A level. She also now understands how women are underrepresented in maths related occupations and sees how important it is to change that.
- A Parent (Quote from Maths4Girls website)
What else can I do to improve girl’s participation in maths and STEM careers?
There are lots of other things you can do to improve girl’s participation in maths and their attitudes towards STEM careers.
To find out more, read our other blog post – How many girls do A-level maths.