Why Pretty Curious?
It’s not about being ‘pretty’; it’s about being ‘pretty curious’. Using 'pretty' is a play on words. We are using the word in the sense of 'pretty unexpected', 'pretty determined', 'pretty inventive', 'pretty focused' and 'pretty curious'. It's been chosen purposefully to challenge the stereotypes around personal appearance that are often applied to girls. We knew the name would attract attention and chose it in order to raise awareness of the campaign, which aims to address the significant under-representation of women in STEM.
Why has EDF Energy decided to do this campaign?
There is a wealth of interesting and rewarding science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM) career opportunities available in the UK, but many girls disregard these subjects by the time they reach 16 years of age (1). This means that for some girls, they are closing the door to a diverse range of career paths in science-based industries.
EDF Energy has chosen to focus on inspiring more girls to study STEM subjects, because for us – a business that relies on strong STEM talent – this is not just an equality issue. This lack of interest from girls will contribute to a serious talent shortage in the years to come. At EDF Energy, we plan to bring affordable, long-term, low-carbon energy to the UK. To do that we require the right mix of people to help shape the UK’s low-carbon energy future. This means recruiting from the widest possible pool of talent.
That’s why we have launched a campaign to spark the imagination of 11-16 year old girls, encouraging them to pursue science-based subjects at school and in their future careers.
Who are you working with for this campaign?
Research shows that girls don’t always have role models with a science-based background (2), so we’re working with different people to showcase the diversity of careers that can be possible by pursuing science.
- EDF Energy’s own female employees, including Bethany Thomas, a reactor chemistry engineer
- Liz Bonnin (@lizbonnin): biochemist, wild animal biologist & TV presenter
- Jenny Griffiths (@JennySnapTech ): computer scientist, founder & CEO of fashion app @SnapFashion
- Florence Adepoju (@MDMflow ): cosmetic scientist and founder of makeup brand MDMflow
We want young girls to relate to the role models we have selected and see a role for STEM in their immediate lives – not something as a far off goal. We’ve spent a lot of time talking to girls to fully establish what will make them sit up and listen and role models such as these are who they are telling us will have the best chance at switching them on to STEM.
As well as our role models, we have gathered support for the campaign from influencers and groups in the STEM and women in science space, including WiSE (@thewisecampaign), Women in Nuclear (@WiNuclear) and Every Woman (@everywomanUK).
Wouldn’t it be better to support an existing campaign?
We have had a long standing commitment to encouraging STEM subjects within school age children and work with a number of organisations in supporting their own campaigns and initiatives, including WiSE (@thewisecampaign), Women in Nuclear (@WiNuclear) and Every Woman (@everywomanUK).
We have partnered with The Times Cheltenham Science Festival for over 10 years, focusing on inspiring young people into science and engineering. And we are founding sponsors of the POWERful Women initiative.
We also work with over 19,500 schools in the UK (over 60% of UK schools) who are signed up to The Pod, EDF Energy’s award winning educational programme – and in Somerset, our Inspire Programme has connected with over 70,000 school children in 171 local schools to help students understand the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
We feel this is a critical issue – and one where we have a right to get involved given the importance of it for our business and for the UK as a whole. But we will also continue to work collaboratively with other groups to address it.
(1) Women in Engineering: Fixing the Talent pipeline - IPPR
(2) Engaging Girls in STEM: Role Models – Center for Research on Girls at Laurel School - Young female students are more likely to choose to pursue a STEM career or education with the support of a mentor, especially if the mentor is someone with whom the student has close contact