L'Oreal partners with Inspiring The Future to encourage science role models

New research commissioned by L’Oréal has found that an average 55% of 16-18 year old, full time students are not studying science. Of those, more than a third (40%) said it was because they don’t think science would lead to a career they want to do, and just under a third (29%) feel they are no good at science.

Conversely, more than half of students studying science at university say they fell in love with the subject while at primary school. As the UK lacks female scientists, L’Oréal believes the solution is in bringing role models into the classroom at a young age.

Announced on the 10th anniversary of the L’Oréal-UNESCO ‘For Women In Science Awards’, the research reveals that students struggle to see the value in science and this perception begins as early as primary school. In fact, as children start defining what they can as young as age five, they often rule options out due to their gender and lack of role models.

As a result, L’Oréal UK & Ireland is partnering with the charity Education and Employers’ ‘Inspiring the Future’ programme to encourage more inspirational role models in the sciences to volunteer an hour to talk to young people in school about their job and career route. By showcasing the exciting and varied working lives of women in science, children can see first-hand how science is more than just a lab coat and can lead to a world of opportunities.

The two organisations are calling on women working in science up and down the country, to sign up via http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/.

At the launch event at the Royal Society, 70 primary school children interviewed a panel of inspirational female scientists from a range of professions including a forensic archaeologist, an orthopaedic surgeon and a plasma scientist, to help them understand science careers and make links to their in-school learning.

When it comes to choosing a career at a later stage, girls are more likely than boys to listen to advice from others, particularly parents (20% vs 16%) and people working in the career they want to do (13% vs 10%).

A separate survey conducted among parents indicated that children form opinions of what they’re good at, at a young age; almost three quarters (71%) of parents with primary school-aged children agree their child knows what they are good at, yet one in five (20%) of those parents say they don’t discuss their child’s aspirations for the future.

This partnership is the latest in L’Oréal UK & Ireland’s range of programmes to promote and support science and help tackle the underrepresentation of women in science-based professions. Since 2007, the ‘For Women In Science’ programme has awarded over £500,000 to 42 early career researchers in the UK. Over 52,000 7-18 year olds in the UK have also already visited the modern laboratory at the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre (LYSC) at the Royal Institution.

Anne Lyons, President of the National Association of Head Teachers said “Role models from the world of work can have a big impact on children – they can help them see why the subjects they are studying matter.  It also helps to tackle the stereotypes children have from a young age which lead them to think that certain subjects and careers are not for them”.

Nick Chambers, CEO of the charity Education and Employers, which runs Inspiring the Future said “Spending time talking to people in a range of professions helps young people to be aware of the wide range of career paths open to them. Yet just 35% of 16-18 year olds surveyed by L’Oréal said that they know someone who works in a science field, and only 14% of parents surveyed work in a science related field. This means most children aren’t having the kinds of conversations that help them form new ideas about their own future”.

Vismay Sharma Managing Director of L’Oréal UK & Ireland, commented “We know that unfortunately, for many, science can be seen as niche and having no connection with the real world, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Most of the things around us, things that we use every day (and can’t live without) owe their very existence to this thing called ‘science’.  It is important for us all to work together and find ways to spark the interest of the next generation of scientists. We’re therefore delighted to announce this new and important partnership”.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

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L'Oreal partners with Inspiring The Future to encourage science role models