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Diversity and inclusion in STEM


There is evidence to suggest that women, certain ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds are underrepresented in education, training and employment related to STEM. While there is significant variation in rates of progression and outcomes across ethnic minority groups, research shows that ethnic minority staff and students have consistently poorer outcomes than white staff and students. There is also variation within ethnic minorities. Recent data from the APPG on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM show that 65% of the STEM workforce are white men and that, proportionally, white women are less likely to be STEM workers than ethnic minority women. Further, the percentage of academic staff with a known disability is lower for staff working in STEM than non-STEM, and 2020 data analysis from the APPG on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM found that disabled people of all ethnicities are underrepresented in the STEM workforce.

While there is comparatively less data on the socioeconomic background of the STEM workforce a 2014 Royal Society report found that it does have a strong effect on an individual’s likelihood of entering the scientific workforce.

The importance of diversity amongst the research community has been acknowledged by UK Research and Innovation’s Chief Executive, Dame Ottoline Leyser, who said: “high-quality research and innovation needs diversity. You have to have people with different ideas and different backgrounds coming together to create the kind of environment where extraordinary things happen”.

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This inquiry is no longer accepting evidence

The deadline for submissions was Friday 14 January 2022.

Reports, special reports and government responses

View all reports and responses
Fifth Report - Diversity and Inclusion in STEM
Inquiry Diversity and inclusion in STEM
HC 95
Response to this report
Third Special Report - Diversity and inclusion in STEM: Government Response to the Committee’s Fifth Report
HC 1427
Government Response

Oral evidence transcripts

View all oral evidence transcripts
15 June 2022
Inquiry Diversity and inclusion in STEM
Witnesses Mr Robin Walker (Minister for School Standards at Department for Education), Paul Kett (Director General, Skills at Department for Education), Kemi Badenoch (Minister of State for Equalities at Government Equalities Office), Marcus Bell (Director at Equality Hub, Cabinet Office), Gillian Unsworth (Head of Gender and Workplace Equality at Cabinet Office), Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS (Chief Executive at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)), and George Freeman (Minister for Science, Research and Innovation at Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy)
Oral Evidence
18 May 2022
Inquiry Diversity and inclusion in STEM
Witnesses Dr Claire Crawford (Research Fellow at Institute for Fiscal Studies), Professor Dame Athene Donald (Master of Churchill College and Professor Emerita of Experimental Physics at University of Cambridge), Dr Jasper Green (Her Majesty's Inspector, Schools and Subject Lead, Science at Ofsted Curriculum Unit), Clare Hayes (Deputy Head at Hyndland Secondary School), Jane Lunnon (Head at Alleyn's School), Mark Turner (Headteacher at Skipton High School for Girls), Professor Ulrike Tillmann (President at London Mathematical Society), and Rachel Youngman (Deputy Chief Executive at Institute of Physics)
Oral Evidence
27 April 2022
Inquiry Diversity and inclusion in STEM
Witnesses Katherine Sparkes MBE (CEO at Lightyear Foundation), Dr Jasleen Jolly (Associate Professor in Vision and Eye Research and representative at Anglia Ruskin University and National Association of Disabled Staff Networks), Dr Gayle Brewer (Senior Lecturer in Psychology and representative at University of Liverpool and National Association of Disabled Staff Networks), Katharine Birbalsingh CBE (Chair at Social Mobility Commission, and Headmistress at Michaela Community School), Dr Izzy Jayasinghe (Senior Lecturer and UKRI Future Leader Fellow, and representative at School of Biosciences, University of Sheffield, and LGBTQ+ STEM), and Dr Katie Perry (Chief Executive at The Daphne Jackson Trust)
Oral Evidence
Professor David Leake (DIV0115)
Dr Jasleen Jolly (Clinical Academic at National Association for Disabled Staff Networks) (DIV0114)
Derrick Willer MBE (DIV0113)

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