Business in Bury St Edmunds looks to tackle gap in the number of girls dropping out of science

Agata Lutek takes part in Zebra Science at Abbots Green Primary School.
Agata Lutek takes part in Zebra Science at Abbots Green Primary School.
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An educational business in Bury St Edmunds is trying to address a gap in the number of women working in science, with the launch of a new club.

Zebra Science has launched what is believed to be the first girls only science club.

Zebra Science club at Abbots Green Primary School.

Zebra Science club at Abbots Green Primary School.

The business was set up by former science teachers Karen Scott and Neil Bleathy in 2011 and earlier this year was crowned joint winners of our Local Business Accelerators competition to win free mentoring and advertising.

Karen said: “We launched the girls only club at half term and have had eight girls aged six to 11 coming along every Saturday to Moyses Hall Museum.

“The idea came as a result of the mixed club we run. We weren’t getting many girls coming along – we had three since January.

“And so we thought a girls only club might prove more popular with them.”

So far the experiment seems to have worked and Zebra Science will have a number of industry leaders who work in science come along to talk to the girls and show them what they do, next Saturday (6).

“One of the reasons Zebra was set up was to try to get more girls into science.

“There is a lot of research that shows that at about the age of 10 to 12, girls interest in science starts to fall and by the time they reach the age of 15 it has dropped even more.”

She said one of the theories is that because girls reach puberty earlier they become more self conscious.

At the same time media and society show images depicting more men than women as scientists, which in turn makes girls think science ‘Is not for them’ said Karen.

Boots was accused of Sexism after Science Museum produce toys were labelled for boys by the high street store.

“We just want to show them to carry on and enjoy scie nce, that there are some really interesting jobs out there,” said Karen.

Zebra Science also runs workshops in schools and after schools clubs.

Courses are open for six to 11-year-olds with children earning science badges.

It costs £29.50 per term.

“Our main aim is to give children the opportunity to do realy practical science at an early age and improve their skills which will benefit them by the time they go to secondary school,” said Karen.

As well as benefitting their qualifications, she said a better understanding of science could also help youngsters to ‘critically evaluate’ what they hear in the media as they get older.

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