Danger of losing out on female skills

I WAS disappointed to read Alistair Grant’s article “Physics and girls don’t go, says academic” (your report, 12 July) that reported the views of academic Dr Gijsbert Stoet.

As someone with a first class degree in physics from one of the UK’s top – and probably Scotland’s top – universities in the subject, I fear Dr Stoet’s opinion is out of date and I would question what evidence this has been based on.

While I completed my degree nearly 20 years ago, I am proud that I could share the physics podium with a number of intelligent women who have all gone on to carve out successful careers for themselves – and I hope we are paving the way for later generations. For me, physics and engineering is all the better for the diversity of people who choose to study the subjects and then use them in their later career – whether that be directly in physics and engineering or in other fields, such as financial services.

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These industries are hugely important to the UK economy. Diversity also brings a different range of softer skills, which all subjects and industries require in their leadership population – whether that be leadership in education, commerce or public policy. 

If schools, universities, parents and people of influence do not continue to encourage and give confidence to girls to pursue these subjects, we are losing out on a huge wealth of talent.

This is ultimately a loss for the UK economy and also the innovation and discovery within these subjects – something that UK has led the world in for centuries.

Sarah Mathieson 

Cluny Gardens