PRESS RELEASE: Gender Stereotypes Threatening the Digital Revolution

Careers education should start in primary school so that more children – and especially girls – have better chances of careers in tech, according to a new survey.

The survey of primary school teachers, carried out for Tech She Can – a charity campaigning for an increase in the number of women in tech careers – was launched today at Bett, the leading edtech conference being held at the ExCel, London.

Three key themes emerge from the research,  each with major implications for future efforts to close the gender gap in STEM. 

STEM stereotypes start early and are putting girls off tech careers. 71% of teachers believe that gender stereotypes around STEM careers start before the age of 11. Teachers say there are too few inclusive and diverse role models in career materials, with only half of respondents saying the careers materials they have access to are inclusive and diverse. 

The STEM aspiration gap - gender and social mobility have a multiplying effect, with girls' who experience disadvantages more likely to perceive that a tech career is not for them. Despite 25% of girls enjoying STEM subjects more than boys, girls in state school are 69% less likely to aspire to STEM careers than boys.

Teachers need better career resources - the majority of primary school teachers believe that careers education is important, but only a small minority can access sufficient careers experiences for their students. 75% of primary teachers believe that careers education is important in primary schools, but only 15% of primary teachers felt that the career experiences they had access to were sufficient for their students.

The survey was carried out for Tech She Can by Templeton & Partners, the tech recruitment agency.  It surveyed 287 primary school teachers about the barriers in delivering STEM education and how government, businesses and charities can help schools to support female students into STEM careers.

Tech She Can commissioned the report because while 80% of jobs in the UK require at least some digital skills, females remain chronically under-represented in tech jobs.  This means not only is the country missing out on wide pools of potential talent, but girls are excluded from rewarding career paths and lifetimes of opportunities. 

Tech She Can says the survey shows why starting awareness of STEM careers at an early age is vital to preventing stereotypes and perceptions that STEM is not for girls. 

Sheridan Ash, founder and Co-CEO of Tech She Can, said: “Today’s report finds that the saying, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ has never been more pertinent. Teachers overwhelmingly believe that children need real-life examples of  relatable role models and information on career paths.

“Girls are more likely to enjoy STEM subjects, but boys are more likely to believe in a tech career. The findings of the report show that gender and social mobility have a multiplying effect on gender stereotypes surrounding careers. Education must focus on widening inclusion in both areas to understand, identify, and address all barriers preventing girls from getting into STEM, and government and business must play their part too.”

Tech She Can is calling for STEM Careers education to:  

  • Start in Primary Schools, supporting teachers with easy-to-access resources, showing how technology links to multiple areas of the curriculum.
  • Bridge the gap between education and industry by showcasing diverse, relatable real life role models, the breadth and depth of careers and the different pathways into employment.
  • Play to children’s passions and interests with engaging and interactive lessons and materials such as animations, digital lessons, videos, games and detailed lesson packs.

Tech She Can’s education programme ‘Tech We Can’ is launching a series of Live Lessons to help pupils explore technology and inspire pupils, created by qualified teachers in collaboration with industry. Their upcoming LIVES take pupils age 7 to 14 on a journey to demystify AI, explore outer space, and delve into the world of wearable tech in sport and are aimed at pupils. Registration is now open: 


Notes to editors

  • Tech She Can is on a mission to change the ratio of women in technology. The charity inspires girls and boys about careers in technology through Tech We Can, a programme of free and inclusive resources and experiences for schools, created by qualified teachers in collaboration with industry. It provides resources and experiences free of charge to primary and secondary schools, including Lessons, Assemblies and Animations.
  • Tech She Can is industry backed and receives core funding from its strategic partners: Accenture, Barclays, Centrica, Computeam, Credit Suisse, Develop, Deutsche Bank, Discover, eduthing, Google, Houseful - the home of Zoopla, Kyndryl, Morgan Stanley, NatWest Group, PwC UK, Savannah, TEKSystems, Tesco, The Hut Group, Unilever, University of Birmingham and UST. 
  • Since it launched in 2021 the charity provided lessons to 63,000 children and a further 325,000 have enjoyed its online resources. 
  • The full Tech She Can 2023 Impact Report can be accessed here and a video of its impact can be found here
Together we can change the ratio
© 2022 Tech She Can. Registered charity number 1195284.