Dr Louise Bright
Chair of Judges
Wales STEM Awards
The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields are some of the most critical industries driving innovation, economic growth, and societal progress. However, there is a persistent diversity gap within these fields, which needs to be addressed urgently, says Dr Louise Bright, chair of judges at the Wales STEM Awards and founder of the Wales Women in STEM network.
“In recent years, there have been efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, but progress has been slow. Women, people of colour, and individuals from low-income backgrounds are still significantly underrepresented in STEM careers. This disparity not only limits the pool of talent available for STEM jobs but also leads to an overall lack of diverse perspectives in STEM innovation.
“The diversity gap in STEM is not just a moral issue but also has significant economic consequences. Studies have shown that diverse teams are more innovative, creative, and better able to solve complex problems than homogenous ones. Thus, increasing diversity in STEM fields could result in new and ground-breaking discoveries, products, and services.
“To address the diversity gap in STEM, we must start by breaking down the systemic barriers that prevent underrepresented groups from accessing STEM education and careers. This can include providing resources and support for early STEM education, mentorship and networking opportunities, and creating inclusive and welcoming workplaces.
“Additionally, companies and organisations must take active steps to address the lack of diversity within their workforce. This can include implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives, establishing inclusive hiring practices, and providing opportunities for professional development and advancement for all employees.
“Profiling those organisations and individuals leading the way to improve diversity and inclusion in STEM will also help address the issue, which is why the Wales STEM Awards are such a great platform.
“In conclusion, addressing the STEM diversity gap is crucial for fostering innovation, economic growth, and societal progress. By taking concrete steps to increase diversity and inclusivity in STEM education and careers, we can create a more equitable and prosperous future for all.”
The Wales STEM Awards are open for entry until 7th July. For more information visit www.stemawards.wales