McLaren Automotive has teamed with children’s rights charity Plan International to commission a survey of school girls regarding their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math-based careers and the overwhelming majority said they want to pursue science professionally.
Seventy-five percent of the students said they are interested in a STEM career and 61 percent asked to see more female role models in engineering. The lack of such examples could contribute to the reason 27 percent of the girls worried they aren’t good enough students for STEM subjects. The study surveyed 1,000 British girls aged 11-18 in the first week of June 2022.
To draw attention to the research, McLaren Automotive has unveiled a custom-decorated Artura hybrid sports with the help of 14-year-old Plan International youth activist and STEM enthusiast, Amelie. Amelie was joined at the unveiling by McLaren materials scientist Ella Podmore, who worked on the Artura and was recently awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours for her work encouraging more girls to pursue STEM careers, and senior McLaren designer Max Shkinder, who created the one-off color scheme.
“Plan International’s partnership with McLaren is doing a really good job of tackling career stereotypes, making it clear that science-based subjects can be interesting for all young people and showing how gender stereotypes about studying STEM subjects are wrong,” Amelie said.
“Meeting the McLaren team has made me want to study even more STEM subjects at school. The atmosphere at the McLaren Technology Centre was really welcoming and today’s visit showed me how impressive engineering can be.”
McLaren has pledged to hold educational, skills-based workshops for 1,000 girls by 2025 to help create more opportunities for them to take up STEM careers. Podmore led the first of these workshops recently at McLaren, providing the attendees from local schools her perspective on what it is like as a woman in an automotive career. Students tried a range of exercises with McLaren engineers and designers to test their aptitude and hone their skills.
“International Women in Engineering Day is vital to help focus attention on the importance of encouraging our young people to explore pursuing STEM education and career options that are open to them,” stated Mandeep Dhatt, Executive Director of HR, McLaren Automotive. “The study jointly commissioned with Plan International shows that we have no room for complacency in smashing negative and persistent gender stereotypes that can hold our young people back.”
Hopefully, in a few years, these workshops will be hosted by female engineers and scientists who entered their careers due to the motivation and support they received at one of McLaren’s events.