There are hundreds of organisations and businesses in London that do brilliant work in raising the profile of women working in STEM, and I collaborate with and champion many of them. A key part of my Mayor’s London Scientist programme is linking STEM professionals and schools. This year, students in more than 40 secondary schools across London are working on STEM projects alongside real-life scientists, of whom 50 per cent are women. I make sure that my education resources, such as the World of Work trails for primary children and the London Curriculum, feature female and BAME role models.
However, such initiatives must go hand in hand with structural change if they are to be effective. Today, not a single woman scientist is mentioned in the national curriculum for GCSE science. This exclusion of female role models sends a detrimental message to young girls and boys during their years in school. What I am doing is investing in initiatives such as Gender Action, which work to raise awareness of and tackle harmful gender stereotyping in nurseries and schools in London.