Black History Month 2023: Empowering BAME Women in STEM
At Concept, we're dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. In honour of Black History Month 2023 in the UK, we’re highlighting this year's theme, "Saluting our Sisters," by discussing the underrepresentation of Black women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers and offering insights on how tech employers can create a more inclusive environment.
The Reality of Black Women in STEM
Women are continuously underrepresented in the STEM, accounting for only 24% of the STEM workforce in the UK as of 2021. Black women continue to be a minority in STEM fields, both globally and in the United Kingdom. Historically, Black British women have encountered notable difficulties when it comes to accessing educational and professional pathways, especially within STEM disciplines.
These hurdles encompass systemic impediments like limited access to resources and guidance, as well as implicit bias and discrimination. Moreover, they often contend with cultural stereotypes and societal norms that dissuade their engagement in STEM professions. Additionally, these women may encounter intersectional discrimination, where they confront bias and obstacles stemming from both their racial and gender identities.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) sheds light with shocking statistics:
Statistics on Black Women in STEM (UK):
According to the ONS, as of 2021:
Ethnic minorities are underrepresented in STEM fields, with just 8% of the STEM workforce coming from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
Black women accounted for only 0.3% of the UK's STEM workforce, despite making up 4% of the overall population.
A study by the Royal Society of Biology reported that Black women were underrepresented at all levels of STEM careers, from entry-level positions to leadership roles.
These statistics emphasise the significant underrepresentation of Black women in STEM and highlight the need for positive change.
Fostering Inclusivity in the Tech Industry
Inclusivity is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic advantage for most tech companies. Diverse teams are more innovative, creative, and better equipped to solve complex problems. So, how can tech employers be more inclusive and supportive of Black women in STEM?
1. Diversify the Hiring Process:
Tech companies should actively work to diversify their hiring processes. This includes removing biases from job descriptions, ensuring diverse interview panels, and considering skills and potential over traditional qualifications.
2. Invest in Education and Training:
Offer training programs and resources to help Black women and other underrepresented groups bridge any skill gaps and advance in their careers. Partner with organizations and institutions that support diversity in STEM.
3. Create Supportive Work Environments:
Promote an inclusive culture by fostering mentorship programs, affinity groups, and open communication. Make sure that all employees, regardless of their background, feel valued and heard.
4. Measure and Report Progress:
Regularly track and report on diversity metrics to identify areas that need improvement and hold the company accountable for its diversity and inclusion efforts.
Interested in improving your team’s diversity? Watch our webinar on Evolving Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace here.
How Concept Can Help
At Concept, we understand the importance of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. We offer a range of services to help tech employers build more inclusive workplaces. If you need advice on diversity and inclusion strategies or assistance in attracting a more diverse talent pool, we're here to help.Contact us today and let us assist you in making your tech company a more inclusive and diverse place where all talent can thrive.
As we celebrate Black History Month in the UK, it's crucial to recognise the challenges the BAME community faces and take proactive steps towards creating a more inclusive tech industry. By implementing the strategies mentioned or reaching out to us, we can work together to make a positive change in the tech market.