An Accenture survey on STEM, unveiled early February shows that girls’ uptake of STEM is still being held back compared to boys. As part of a global campaign, Accenture and Stemettes hosted a Girls in STEM Event, in Edinburgh on the 7th February and as part of that focus, we’ve asked speakers and prominent business women in Scotland for their STEM Insights.
Today we’re sharing STEM Insights from Lucy Murdoch, Accenture Managing Director, Financial Services
Caption: Iris Andrew and Lulu Harty from Boroughmuir High School, with Lucy Murdoch of Accenture at the Girls in STEM event in Edinburgh
Q1. Why do think getting more girls into STEM subjects is important?
Getting more girls into STEM subjects is important, because otherwise we are simply missing out on 50% of the STEM talent.
Q2. With a magic wand and no barriers, what initiative or step-change would you introduce to get more girls into STEM?
I would change toyshops and supermarkets so that there was no difference between girls and boys toys. No more separate shelves of pink dolls and blue trainsets. Just dolls, trainsets, chemistry sets and lego for all children. And while I have this magic wand, I’d also change kids clothes, so that girls can be ‘little professors ‘, ‘superheroes’ and ‘adventurers’ too. Gender stereotyping starts at a very young age!
Q3. When or what made you realise that STEM subjects weren’t just for boys?
As someone who studied physics, chemistry and maths at school, it never occurred to me that STEM subjects were just for boys!
Q4. Within the STEM field, who inspired you most to follow your career path?
I am a fan of Mary Somerville (1780-1872), who spent her childhood in Burntisland, Fife, which is the town where I grew up. There were a lot of men in her life who told her that education and science were not for girls. But against the odds, she studied physical sciences and astronomy extensively, and wrote many books on these subjects. She was jointly nominated to be the first female member of the Royal Astronomical Society, alongside Caroline Herschel, and Somerville College in Oxford is named after her.
Q5. Writing back to your old self at the age of 14, picking your all-important exam subjects, what would you say to yourself with hindsight?
Follow your interests and curiosity and don’t worry about what other people think. I think these are good principles generally.