Valerie Vaz, since May 2010 MP for Walsall South, UK and Member of the influential Health Select Committee asked the Prime Minister to reinstate funding for the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (UKRC) during Prime Minister’s Questions on 11 January 2012.
Valerie emphasized that 'the UKRC does vital work to tackle the serious under-representation of women in science, engineering and technology, however by 2012 the UKRC will have had 100% of its Government funding withdrawn.
This comes at a time when unemployment for women has reached over 1million – the highest since 1988. Only 5.3% of women in employment are in science, engineering and technology occupations, and a man is six times more likely to work in a SET occupation than a woman.
Overall, women account for just 12.3% of people in science, engineering and technology occupations.
The UKRC works directly with women and with organisations to support women in these professions. British scientists – women and men – are among the best in the world and the Government should take steps to ensure the sector is more representative of our society. The UKRC is an experienced and specialist organisation and the Government should support its important and unique work.'
Answer of Prime Minister David Cameron:
'I will certainly look at the case that the hon. Lady sets out. As she knows, despite having to make difficult decisions across a range of public spending areas we did not cut the science budget. Indeed, in the autumn statement the Chancellor provided a series of enhancements for specific science-based projects. I will look at the specific one that the hon. Lady mentions and get back to her.'