The UN designated 11th February as International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Now in its third year, this day celebrates and promotes female participation in the field of science and technology.
The UN devised this day to redress the major deficit of female engagement in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) sector. A significant gender gap has persisted throughout the years at all levels of STEM disciplines all over the world. Even though women have made huge progresses towards increasing their participation in higher education, they are still underrepresented in these fields.
In Ireland the situation is no different. At a national level, just 25% of people currently working in STEM-related careers in Ireland are women. Global healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and University of Limerick (UL) are working together in a collaborative educational programme entitled ‘Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design’ programme (WiSTEM2D). Student research carried out at UL during Year 1 of the WiSTEM2D programme highlighted that in 2016/2017 female students accounted for just 26% of undergraduates in the Science and Engineering faculty. The research also found that less than 6% of female students opted for Electronic and Computer Engineering, 9% for Computer Science, 18% for Financial Mathematics, and 35% for Environmental Science.
Measures are being taken in Ireland to encourage more women to STEM related careers. Smart Futures is coordinated and managed by Science Foundation Ireland, in partnership with over 200+ organisations from research and academia, as well as partners such as Engineers Ireland, BioPharma Ireland and ICT Ireland. The Smart Futures website aims to provide STEM career resources to students, teachers, guidance counsellors and parents in Ireland and stimulate an interest in STEM subjects in secondary school and at third level.
The I WISH (Inspiring Women in Stem) conference, in its third year, is aimed explicitly at girls in second level. It aims to inspire, encourage and motivate young female students to pursue careers in STEM.
Trying to attract women to STEM careers isn’t all about closing the gender gap, there is far more at stake. Technology is all about planning for the future, women are part of that future and need to be represented. Attracting and retaining more women to the STEM workforce will maximize innovation, creativity, and competitiveness. Maricka Burke Keogh, Head of Digital Marketing at Altodesign, gave her reasons why you should consider working in the STEM sector
- In-Demand - People with qualifications in technology are in high-demand.
- Well Paid – Currently there is much higher demand for technologists than there is supply; thus technologists have more negotiation power on their salary.
- Variety – Technology is a very broad and varied field. New projects and challenges come up all of the time, so STEM workers are rarely bored! Can move around the company sometimes too.
- Travel – Many people in technology get to travel for work, especially in multinational companies.
- Flexibility - Office hours can be flexible and may allow working remotely.
- Fulfilling – Chance to make a difference and get involved in the community
To read Maricka Burke Keogh’s full article click here.
CareersPortal has an extensive portfolio of career profiles. To explore careers in the STEM sector click on the following links.
- Chemical, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Computers and ICT
- Earth Science and Environment
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing
- Physical and Mathematical Sciences
- Space Science and Technology
You can use the Course Finder on CareersPortal to search for CAO courses. To find CAO course in science click here.
The CareersPortal Team