Women’s and Health Minister Maria Caulfield today met leading researchers and discussed their work to improve health outcomes for women and babies, and the importance of women working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths).
At any one time there are around 1,500 research studies ongoing at visited University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), involving around 15,000 patients. The Minister visited the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing, which features the latest technology and facilities to maximise health positive outcomes for women and babies. She met clinicians researching women’s health, including during pregnancy, and foetal medicine for complicated pregnancies.
Although there has been a large increase in girls doing STEM A-Levels and being accepted on undergraduate degrees, in 2020 women still only made up 29.4% of the STEM workforce in the UK. There are also approximately 75,000 people – the majority of whom are women – who previously worked in STEM and are currently economically inactive due to caring responsibilities but are keen to return to work in the future.
Government is funding programmes to help increase take-up of STEM education for children, and has launched the STEM ReCharge initiative to help people who have left work for caring responsibilities back into STEM careers.
Women’s and Health Minister, Maria Caulfield said: “For generations, women have lived with a health and care system that has mostly been designed by men, for men. We want to change this. I trained as a nurse, so I know the vital importance of women getting into STEM roles and pushing forward vital research which saves lives. The brilliant women I met are changing the lives of women today, and those in the future. I want to see more girls following this career path.”
Last summer, Government published its first ever Women’s Health Strategy for England. Based on a call for evidence which received 100,000 responses, the Strategy sets out 10-year ambitions for boosting the health and wellbeing of women. In January, Minister Maria Caulfield set out her eight priorities for the first year:
- encouraging expansion of women’s health hubs
- improving information provision on women’s health
- supporting women’s health in the workplace
- pregnancy loss
- improving access to hormone replacement therapy
- healthy ageing and long-term conditions
- boosting research and evidence into women’s health
On her visit today she discussed progress on the Strategy with staff and thanked them for their work on maternal health, foetal medicine, pregnancy loss, fertility and boosting research and evidence into women’s health.