Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Fundación Iberdrola España and EMT are committed to STEM vocational training to increase women’s employability

Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Fundación Iberdrola España and EMT are committed to STEM vocational training to increase women’s employability

  • Less than 8% of female university students study STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and in vocational training the female presence is 3.6%, according to data from the STEM Sustainability and Mobility Chair.
  • Studies point to the potential growth of STEM professions with good salary, job and career prospects.
  • Mobility and sustainability sector is a key alternative for stable and quality employment
  • Information, culture and the media, key to creating STEM benchmarks

Madrid, 13-04-2021.- Studies on the future needs of professions that ensure good professional development and quality employability, predict a growth of 14% in STEM professions (acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics). In Spain, 390,000 STEM jobs with better salaries and good job and career prospects are expected to be created in the next two years. However, the figures show a low female presence in this field; while half of university students are women, less than 8% choose STEM degrees. In the case of VET, the presence of women studying a STEM professional family does not exceed 3.6%.

These are some of the figures that were highlighted today at the round table discussion “The future of women’s employability through STEM training: Vocational Training, the great alternative”, organized by the Chair for Women in STEM Sustainability and Mobility at the School of Engineering at Comillas Pontifical University (Comillas ICAI), Fundación Iberdrola España, and EMT. The three institutions wanted to highlight the current low participation of women in STEM professions related to vocational training, as well as to raise awareness among the educational community and companies of the potential of women in these professional profiles. Attracting female talent to STEM vocational training studies is key for companies and constitutes an opportunity to reduce the gender gap and achieve a more egalitarian society.

During the meeting, the multiple factors in the educational, socio-economic, family and personal spheres that cause this scarce presence of women were analyzed. Yolanda González Arechavala, director of the chair, blames several factors, “from a false sense of self-efficacy and lack of female stereotypes in the media culture, to the gender bias of STEM teachers and unmotivating teaching methods, to a society with low scientific literacy and a cost-benefit ratio that is not highly valued in this type of studies”. These are all causes that lead to such low percentages of women in STEM studies.

The organization of this round table is part of the agenda of the Chair for Women STEM Sustainability Mobility, an innovative public-private initiative launched by Iberdrola, through its Foundation in Spain, together with the Municipal Transport Company of Madrid and the Universidad Pontificia Comillas. The chair was created in October 2020 to promote STEM (an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) vocations among women, particularly in the field of vocational training for sustainable mobility. Among its objectives is to investigate the causes of the low presence of women in this type of studies, to analyze the adequacy of academic content with the needs of participating companies, and to implement the tactical actions necessary to promote STEM vocations in women and girls in order to reverse the current situation and attract female talent to the sustainability and mobility sector.

The meeting, focused on the potential of vocational training, was inaugurated by the rector of Comillas Pontifical University, Julio L. Martínez; Borja Carabante, delegate for the Environment and Mobility, and the president of the Iberdrola Spain Foundation, Fernando García. Clara Sanz, Secretary General for Vocational Training at the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, and Rocío Albert, Deputy Regional Minister for Education and Youth of the Community of Madrid, were in charge of closing the meeting, which included the participation of Alfonso Sánchez, Manager of EMT; Ramón Castresana, Director of Fundación Iberdrola España, and Yolanda González Arechavala, Director of the Chair and Professor at the School of Engineering (Comillas ICAI).

The round table, moderated by EMT’s Director of Institutional Relations and CSR Julieta de Micheo, also featured testimonials from women who have developed their professional lives in the sector, such as María de las Cruces Valencia, guidance teacher at Centro Padre Piquer, María Isabel López, assistant bodywork officer at EMT, and Tania Montes, network development manager at Iberdrola.