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STEM Success: 3.1% more women enrolling in science subjects

10 March 2020

While it used to be – and still is – a male-dominated industry, the number of women choosing to study related degrees is growing year by year.

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From Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin to the contemporary Cori Bargmann, women have contributed immensely in the world of science and technology. 

In the UK, figures from HESA have shown a 3.1% increase in women enrolling in science subjects from 2017/2018 to 2018/19.

With that in mind, Theknowledgeacademy.com sought to investigate the science degrees most sought after by women, and which degree has seen the highest increase over one year, by studying figures from HESA.

Most women chose to study subjects allied to medicine

Theknowledgeacademy.com noticed the science subjects most sought after by women are subjects allied to medicine. 

There were 227,725 undergraduate enrolments in 2017/2018. This number has spiked by 0.9% in the following year, taking the number of women studying subjects allied to medicine to 229,895. 

According to HESA, these include:

Anatomy & Physiology, Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Nutrition, Ophthalmics, Audiology, Nursing, Medical Technology, and Balanced Combination.

While it is the most studied course type, subjects allied to medicine saw the smallest increase in students over one year – 0.9%. The same goes for Physical Sciences, where there was the same % increase.

Veterinary Sciences is at the bottom of the list

Veterinary Sciences is revealed to be the science degree least sought after by women. 

There were only 6,110 undergraduate women enrolled in this course in the year 2017/2018. However, this number spiked by 6.7% the following year.

Computer sciences see the highest spike in undergraduate female students

Interestingly, the degree which sees the highest percentage increase in female students is Computer Sciences – 11.6%.

This is followed by Agriculture and related subjects (7.8%), and – as mentioned before – Veterinary Sciences with 6.7%.

UK is just below the EU average for the number of women in science and tech

When it comes to a wider view, figures from Eurostat have shown that, out of the total percentage of people in science and tech in the EU, 41% of them are women. 

When it comes to the UK, women make up 40.7% of the industry.


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