This is a “quick win” that will help tackle inequality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to a report from the Campaign for Science and Engineering.
Other proposals include stopping changes to the disabled student’s allowance and an urgent review of the National Careers Service website so that it includes input from science and engineering careers specialists.
The Improving Diversity in STEM report looks at how to improve the balance of STEM subjects in terms of disability, gender, social disadvantage and ethnicity from education to the workforce.
Published on 7 May, it draws on five years of data and research about the current state of diversity in STEM, and finds that progress is too slow.
It suggests a number of ways that political will on these matters can be converted into “meaningful action”. Longer term “big wins” include making diversity a “central consideration” of all STEM government policy and getting universities to engage with the Equity Challenge Unit’s race equality charter mark.
Director of CaSE, Sarah Main, said: “[I]t is very clear from this report that we are a long way from achieving diversity in STEM. It is also very clear that significant improvement in diversity will only come with concerted and coordinated effort.”
Evelyn Welch, vice-principal in arts and sciences at King’s College London, which partnered with CaSE to produce the report, said: “I strongly endorse one of the central arguments CaSE has – rightly – sought to make in this report, which is that improving diversity in STEM isn’t an optional extra.”