We were delighted that Laura Bell, EDT’s Director for Employability and Careers was invited to present at the UK’s latest All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Women and Work, which convened yesterday.
The session, chaired by Jess Phillips MP at Portcullis House in London, looked at issues relating to misogyny and sexist attitudes in schools, the impact of subject choices on career options, and strategies for equipping girls for the future workplace. Laura spoke alongside Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England, Natasha Devon MBE, Body Image and Mental Health Campaigner, and Soma Sara, founder of Everyone’s Invited.
“I’m delighted to have been able to speak at the Women and Work APPG about careers guidance and the role it can play in challenging gender stereotypes,” Laura said. “While we appreciate careers guidance isn’t a panacea, it should be part of the conversation and I welcome the opportunity to part of the discussion.”
Drawing on EDT’s research into youth transitions, Laura talked about how gendering of occupations and sectors occurs in the early years of a child’s life and the consequent importance of opening up ideas about the world of work and a range of occupations among children of primary age.
She highlighted that while there has been progress from the days in which social and gendered barriers explicitly limited women’s opportunities, there are still major gendered outcomes in practice. For example, although more women than men now participate in higher education (HE), 80% of students in technology and engineering subjects at this level are men. Laura acknowledged that careers information, advice and guidance is not a ‘magic bullet’ solution to these imbalances, but argued that it should be part of the process of addressing them. Similarly, she advocated for the involvement of career professionals from early years education and throughout the education system, to ensure that young people understand the opportunities available to them and to create more opportunities for young women.
We were grateful for this opportunity to share our expertise in employability and careers guidance its potential impact with the APPG. To find out more about our expertise in careers services for young people, please click here.