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Girls inspired to make a difference in science, maths and engineering

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October 5 2015

More than 100 girls from North Wales were given inspiration to take up careers in science and engineering at a Welsh Government event in Wrexham.

The Girls Make a Difference conference at Glyndŵr University was designed to help raise aspirations and demonstrate that careers for girls in less traditional roles are accessible to all.

Advice, guidance and role models were used to demonstrate how women can aspire to senior roles within industry and enjoy highly successful careers in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.

Sixth former students attended from the Maelor School, Penley; Ysgol Rhiwabon; St Brigid’s, Denbigh; St Richard Gwyn High School, Flint: Prestatyn High; Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, Abergele and Flint High.

The first half of the day featured roundtable discussions inviting the girls to discuss issues facing women in the work place, followed by three different themed sessions in the afternoon.

This included workshops on gender stereotyping, led by Chwarae Teg, gender gaps in STEM careers, led by Techniquest Glyndŵr, and a discussion hosted by Welsh Government officials on women in non-traditional careers.

Amelia John, Head of Fairer Futures, Welsh Government, said: “We really wanted to bring together sixth form girls with inspirational speakers and role models, just really to open up their thoughts about opportunities that they can have.

“There are certain areas that girls are less likely to apply for than boys, they are less likely to study physics, for example. We also know that they face barriers sometimes, in terms of Law a lot of female graduates come through and the women out-weigh the men, but as they go through other barriers such as having a family.

“It was really just to get the conversation going, allowing them to ask questions and mix with various women in various stages of their careers, that could give them inspiration, information and just let them have a wider selection of choice.”

Pippa Britton, Double Paralympian and the Chair of Disability Support Wales, spoke at the event. She said: “I’ve been asked to come and talk to some amazing young women, who I think are all going to have incredibly bright careers and bright futures. It’s about inspiring them to be the best that they can be.

“I’d like to think that I have inspired these young ladies to never give up, and stick to their guns and be determined to achieve their goals, whatever they may be.”

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, said: “Within my portfolio, I have equality, I am passionate about equality and insuring that girls know about the opportunities that are out here for them.

“Women often feel that politics isn’t particularly relevant to their lives and I hope that I have explained how relative it actually is to their lives and it would be great to see female politicians in the future, who were sitting in this room today.”

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