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Women in science

PA Consulting Group’s Dr Carys Lloyd, a technology expert and physicist, is interviewed for the Drivetime programme of Post Prynhawn on BBC Radio Cymru, the national Welsh radio station in Wales.

The interview examines the recent comment by Dame Athene Donald before her inaugural address as the new President of the British Science Association (BSA), that toys aimed at girls emphasise passivity, and are “steering women away from science careers.”

Carys talks about the importance of encouraging women to pursue their studies and careers in Science: “Dame Athene Donald has drawn attention to a real problem in science, particularly in our own field of physics. Approximately 20% of physics A-level students are female, and the proportion drops even further as they progress in their studies and careers. It's important to keep women in science - not only does our country need science and engineers to grow the economy, but also it is wasteful to lose intelligent and inquisitive girls and women from the field.”

Carys goes on to make an alarming point: “Women will drop out of scientific careers if they feel that they do not fit in, and this is a great shame - for them as people who have invested their time and effort in learning more about the subject, and for wider society too.”

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Carys discusses the encouragement she gratefully received from her family and teachers in pursuing a physics career and her efforts to nurture her own young daughter in pursuing a wide variety of interests - some of which might be useful in later life: I believe that giving my daughter plenty of choice when it comes to toys is important. In my mind, the purpose of a toy is to help a child play - to build their sense of imagination, to give them a means of adventure, to develop both physically and mentally. A child with curiosity and imagination stands a great chance to be an excellent scientist.”

Reflecting on the attention given to Dame Athene Donald's comments in the media, Carys says: “I believe that challenging gender stereotypes is important in order to improve the educational and life outcomes of all genders. We should be preparing children for the future we hope they will live in which also includes fostering the next generation of innovators.”

You can view the clip here. Carys appears at 41m50s.

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