61% of schoolgirls want to see more female engineering role models according to new research to mark International Women in Engineering Day

23 June 2022

61% of schoolgirls want to see more female engineering role models according to new research to mark International Women in Engineering Day
61% of schoolgirls want to see more female engineering role models according to new research to mark International Women in Engineering Day

Study finds three-quarters (75%) of schoolgirls surveyed are interested in a science-based career.

•    Alongside new findings, McLaren Automotive unveil an eye-catching, supercar colour scheme to celebrate its global partnership with children’s rights charity, Plan International

•    The special design for the hybrid McLaren Artura supercar goes on display to the public from today on the McLaren stand at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

•    Plan International and supercar maker McLaren Automotive celebrate one year of global partnership and hold first workshop for girls and boys as part of pledge to reach 1,000 girls by 2025

61% per cent of schoolgirls say they want to see more female role models in engineering to encourage them to take up science-based careers, according to new figures published today.

The study, commissioned by children’s rights charity, Plan International and supercar maker, McLaren Automotive, is released to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) which aims to highlight the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths-based (STEM) careers for girls.

In addition, the research found that three-quarters (75%) of schoolgirls are interested in a STEM career, yet over a quarter (27%) said they worry about being good enough to study STEM subjects.

The research was released as 14-year-old Plan International youth activist and STEM enthusiast, Amelie, unveiled a one-off, vibrant design of the McLaren Artura hybrid supercar at the McLaren Technology Centre.

The design has been created to celebrate one year of McLaren’s partnership with the charity and goes on display at the McLaren stand across all four days of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which starts today.

Amelie was joined by materials scientist, Ella Podmore, who worked on the Artura and was recently awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours for her work encouraging more girls to pursue STEM careers, and senior McLaren designer Max Shkinder, who created the one-off colour scheme.

Amelie then applied the finishing touch to the supercar by placing the famous McLaren badge on the bonnet before being given a tour of the McLaren Production Centre, where every McLaren is hand-built.

Being able to unveil this supercar was a real privilege. Seeing the car’s design for the first time as the sheet was pulled off was an incredible moment. Plan International’s partnership with McLaren is doing a really good job of tackling career stereotypes, making it clear that science-based subjects can be interesting for all young people and showing how gender stereotypes about studying STEM subjects are wrong.

Meeting the McLaren team has made me want to study even more STEM subjects at school. The atmosphere at the McLaren Technology Centre was really welcoming and today’s visit showed me how impressive engineering can be,” said Amelie, Plan International UK youth activist.

International Women in Engineering Day also marks the first year of the global partnership between Plan International and McLaren Automotive that aims to support, empower, and inspire the next generation to reach their full potential.

Together, Plan International and McLaren aim to tackle the gender stereotypes that the research highlights which prevent young people – especially girls – from pursuing STEM careers.

McLaren has pledged to hold educational, skills-based workshops for 1,000 girls by 2025 to help create more opportunities for them to take-up STEM careers.

Hybrid McLaren Artura supercar
Hybrid McLaren Artura supercar

The first of these workshops was jointly delivered with Plan International last week at McLaren, with Ella Podmore MBE on-hand to give the attendees from local schools her perspective on what it is like as a woman in an automotive career. Students were also put through their paces with a range of exercises with McLaren engineers and designers to test their aptitude and hone their skills.

International Women in Engineering Day is vital to help focus attention on the importance of encouraging our young people to explore pursuing STEM educational and career options that are open to them. Yet the study jointly commissioned with Plan International shows that we have no room for complacency in smashing negative and persistent gender stereotypes that can hold our young people back.

It was inspiring to meet Amelie, and to introduce her to some of our McLaren STEM ambassadors, like Ella and Max, who work on amazing, innovative supercars. One year into our partnership with Plan International and having just delivered the first of our workshops for young people, our determination to support their vital work remains stronger than ever,” said Mandeep Dhatt, Executive Director of HR, McLaren Automotive.

About the study

Opinium interviewed 1,000 girls aged 11-18 in the UK from 1st to 9th June 2022. Data was weighted to be nationally representative of the population by age and region. Opinium is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

About Plan International

Plan International UK is a global children’s charity. We work to give every child the same chance in life. In every child there’s a spark of imagination, curiosity and ambition. But not every child is born with the same opportunities. When you face poverty or violence the odds are stacked against you. When you’re a girl it’s even harder to be safe, in school and in charge of your body. All children deserve an education, health care and clean water. All children deserve the chance to thrive.

We’re fighting so every child, especially every girl, knows their value. We’re fighting so the communities they’re growing up in – and the world around them – value them too. And if disaster strikes, we’re there to protect children, keep them learning and help them recover. www.plan-uk.org  

About McLaren Automotive:

McLaren Automotive is a creator of luxury, high-performance supercars.

Every vehicle is hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, England. Launched in 2010, the company is now the largest part of the McLaren Group. The company’s product portfolio of GT, supercar, Motorsport and Ultimate models are retailed through over 100 retailers in over 40 markets around the world. McLaren is a pioneer that continuously pushes the boundaries.

In 1981, it introduced lightweight and strong carbon fibre chassis into Formula 1 with the McLaren MP4/1. Then in 1993 it designed and built the McLaren F1 road car – the company has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis since. As part of the Ultimate Series, McLaren was the first to deliver a hybrid hypercar, the McLaren P1™. In 2016, it announced a new hybrid hyper-GT and confirmed in 2018 that the next Ultimate car would be the Speedtail. 2019 saw McLaren launch the 600LT Spider, the new GT and the track-only McLaren Senna GTR. It also unveiled the 620R and McLaren Elva before launching the 765LT the following year.

Most recently, the company unveiled its all-new high-performance hybrid supercar, the McLaren Artura. The Artura is the first McLaren to benefit from the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA). The MCLA is designed, developed and manufactured at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre in the Sheffield region of England using world-first processes and will spearhead the brand’s electrified future.

McLaren Automotive also chooses to partner with like-minded, world-leading companies and organisations who push the boundaries in their respective fields. These include AkzoNobel, Ashurst, Bowers & Wilkins, Dell Technologies, Gulf, InfiniteWorld, Pirelli, Richard Mille, Plan International and Tumi.

About McLaren Group:  

The McLaren Group is a global leader in luxury automotive and elite motorsports with a focus on its Automotive supercar and Racing businesses. Founded in 1963 by racer, engineer and entrepreneur Bruce McLaren, the Group is formed of McLaren Automotive, which hand-builds lightweight supercars; and a majority stake in McLaren Racing which competes in the Formula 1 World Championship and INDYCAR in the US. The Group is globally headquartered at the iconic McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey, England. With a reputation for innovation and technological excellence, McLaren is one of the UK’s largest independent companies.

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