In the thirty-five years since the passage of the Sex Discrimination Act, women have made impressive strides in the workforce in the UK. But there are three industries in particular where woman have not made much progress.
Of the 5.5 million people working in the science, technology and engineering industries, only about 12 percent of them are women. Why so low? After all, the percentage of woman in the workplace has been on the rise for the past four decades. At present, the employment rate for women is only 8 percentage points lower than for men — 70 percent for women, 78 percent for men.
There are a number of theories why women are not making much headway in these industries. According to many feminist groups, it is because most of the companies in these industries are little more than boys clubs. Most also contend there are age-old biases against women in these fields. One common interior stereotype, they claim, is that most women simply cannot compete with men when it comes to maths and science.
But other groups believe that the issue is bigger than chauvinistic attitudes. They claim that many young girls who have a talent for maths or science are urged in other directions by their parents and teachers because they buy into these stereotypes. They honestly believe that women cannot compete with their male counterparts.
Why are these jobs important? On average, careers in these industries are extremely lucrative. And as long as women are kept out of science, engineering and technology jobs, a gender pay gap with always exist.