As the popular ‘Amazed by Science’ family festival launches across Cheshire this coming Saturday and runs throughout the half term break 26th May - 3rd June, the team behind it will be looking to increase the levels for female participation up from 45% last year. By creating a fun-filled calendar of exciting and hands-on events, it’s hoped that girls will become increasingly curious about STEM subjects and see how rewarding and wide-ranging a career in science and engineering can be.
Chief Executive of Marketing Cheshire, Katrina Michel said;
‘In challenging those misconceptions of science being ‘boring’ or ‘just for boys’ at a young age through events like this and with the support of our partners, hopefully we can inspire a generation of female scientists in this talent-rich area of Cheshire.’
Researchers in Australia say it may take up to 100 years to close the gender gap in the world of science stating several reasons including the need for greater awareness of more high profile female roles models and stronger professional networks for females in the industry. Latest figures show that females currently make up just 23% of the STEM workforce.
US experts have also stated that more boys take up STEM subjects at school because they are more confident in their own abilities whereas girls tend to feel that they aren’t ‘clever’ enough for science subjects. Events such as ‘Amazed by Science’ can therefore make science more accessible, helping to break down those barriers and challenge the misconceptions.
Now in its 5th year, the annual science festival is organised by Marketing Cheshire and sponsored by several big names from the science community including headline sponsor Essar along with SP Energy Networks, Urenco, Waters Corporation, Global Atkins and Siemens.
During the festival families with children of all ages can look forward to a packed schedule of ‘fun science’ with plenty of hands-on educational STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities taking place both inside and outside so perfect for all weather.
Events will be happening at more than a dozen different locations over nine days including The Lion Saltworks, Jodrell Bank, Chester Zoo, The Anderton Boat Lift and Catalyst Science Discovery Centre; as well as city centre hubs at Chester Town Hall Square and The Port Arcades in Ellesmere Port and Golden Square Shopping Centre in Warrington. Crewe Library will also host a fantastic ‘Keep Calm…I'm an Engineer’ workshop which is an event designed with deaf audiences in mind and will be accompanied by a professional BSL interpreter to aid communication.
New venue Alderley Park will host an ‘ooey gooey’ Slime Zone fun station with the team from Mad Science at the ‘Slime Zone Fun station,’ teaching children all about polymers and their uses as well as exploring the science of aerodynamics on the runway at their newly created Flight Station. And key sponsor Waters will be putting on a messy and engaging ‘Wacky Science Lab’ event on Thursday 31st May where children will experiment with magnets, structure building and even quicksand at Alderley Park.
Professor Teresa Anderson, Director of Jodrell Bank said:
“It is so important that through events such as Amazed by Science we really encourage girls to participate and overturn the idea of science as a ‘male’ culture that is intimidating. At Jodrell Bank we have found that through events such as this as well as our ‘Girls Night Out’ event and Bluedot festival, attendees have reported that they have changed their attitudes to science as a result of coming along. At least one woman has gone on to have a career with the UK Space Agency and some women have chosen to study A-level or degree-level Physics as a result. We really hope the Amazed by Science opens the door of curiosity for girls across Cheshire and encourages them to consider a career in science.”
To find out more about the events available sign up for alerts and information on the website at www.amazedbyscience.co.uk or by following @amazedbyscience on twitter or via the facebook page at https://en-gb.facebook.com/amazedbyscience/