Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris co-hosted an event aimed at female leadership and connecting women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The industry event with Women in Technology & Science (WITS) brought industry and academic experts together. They discussed how to support women into and during their STEM careers, and considered how to develop and advance this into the future.
The event featured four sessions:
- An accelerated skills hub for aspiring female leaders in digital transformation, which aims to address the ‘glass ceiling’ challenge – increasing the percentage of women moving from middle to senior management roles
- Women returners digital hub, which focused on work to develop an online centralised platform. This will support women at all digital literacy levels, and help companies find new talent. The platform will provide free guidance and toolkits to IT returners, new IT entrants and organisations, to provide ways to restart and develop their careers in tech
- A framework to identify high-potential women and support them onto the first level of leadership. This session heard from Engineers Ireland, University of Limerick and ESB. They shared best practice and discussed a system to identify and support women onto the first level of leadership
- STEM skills passport for inclusion. This session discussed a potential project to support 1,000 working-class girls to progress into STEM courses and careers. This support would inlcude mentoring, teaching, course mapping and work experience.
Speaking at the event, Minister Harris said:
“My department’s agencies, the Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland, have been implementing gender initiatives for some time now to support a stronger representation of women in research and in STEM.“
“We have made good progress in recent years, and Ireland has been steadily moving up the international rankings, with 47% of all researchers in the higher education sector in Ireland being women.“
“But we have a long way to go, and events like today’s, where we bring academia, industry and government together to take action and improve women’s access to and participation in STEM are vital.”
“COVID-19 has taught us the value and importance of science and I have no doubt it will inspire a new generation of female leadership in science, research and innovation. But we must ensure we work together – government and industry – to support women to engage in STEM and today’s conversation is an important start.”
Dr Andrea C Johnson, Chair of Women in Technology and Science said:
“WITS adopted an ambitious 5-year strategic vision in 2020, to advance the retention and development of women in STEM by researching, sharing insights and developing best practice.”
“This event brings policy-makers, industry and academic experts together to spotlight the initiatives that already exist and consider next steps to move this important agenda forward. We’re delighted to work with Minister Harris on this and look forward to continuing our partnership.”