Brussels, 29 Apr 2003
Patricia Hewitt, UK Minister for Trade and Industry, has unveiled a 2 million euro scheme to encourage female scientists to return to work and more women to pursue scientific careers.
The new package, announced on 28 April, aims to target the estimated 50,000 female science, engineering and technology (SET) graduates currently out of work in the UK, and address the fact that only one in six people working in the field are women.
The Department of Trade and Industry strategy comes in response to a report on the issue by Baroness Susan Greenfield entitled 'SET Fair'. 'I am very pleased to realise Susan's recommendations today as well as deliver additional measures targeted at employers,' said Ms Hewitt.
'Britain has a world class science base but we will only keep it this way if we use all our potential talent and not just half the pool. It is also vital for the success of our economy that we make the most of our female scientists,' she went on.
Over 1 million euros of the funding will be spent on a new science centre, which will aim to raise the profile of women in science, recognise and reward good employers, and set up mentoring schemes and promote good practice.
The remaining money will be spent on initiatives specifically aimed at encouraging qualified female scientists to return to work after career breaks, and creating a new implementation group to oversee the strategy's progress and impact over the next two years.
Author of the 'SET Fair' report, Baroness Greenfield, said of the announcement: 'I am delighted and excited that the government are putting real money into this vital initiative. The measures that they have chosen to fund will really make a difference, both to women who are already engaged in research and those who are contemplating a career in science.'
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