Konnie Huq’s plea to schools: Promote female science role models

Konnie Huq: Dave Benett/Getty Images
Konnie Huq: Dave Benett/Getty Images

Former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq today urged schools to promote the achievements of female scientists to encourage more girls to follow careers in engineering, science and technology.

Ms Huq, the longest-serving female presenter of the BBC show, was set for a career in science before she broke into television.

She is now an author of children’s books aimed at “making science cool”. Her Cookie series, which has a second book due this summer, follows a nine-year-old girl with a love of science.

She has called on schools to promote women such as computer programming visionary Ada Lovelace and DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin.

A report last month found 14 mentions of male scientists in the GCSE syllabus but none of women.

Ms Huq said: “Girls will not be able to picture themselves in a science role because they will not see it as tangible or viable as a career.”

Despite a rise in women studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at university, just 35 per cent of students on these courses are women.

British Science Week starts today and Ms Huq will be a judge for the British Science Association’s Youth Industrial Strategy Competition at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham next week.

“It’s about flipping and reversing stereotypes about science. That is what we need to do to put the right things into the heads of young people,” she said.