Vice President, Technology Group Manager, IDA Ireland
Ireland is seeking to become Europe’s STEM leader by 2026 by nurturing an ecosystem that facilitates and encourages women in technology.
A study by McKinsey Global Institute has shown that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers financially. Advancing gender equality at work could add USD 12 trillion to global GDP growth by 2025.
In Ireland, there are approximately 118,000 people in jobs using STEM skills. The proportion of women in these roles is about 25%. According to the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, Ireland will have about 44,500 job openings for people with high-level ICT skills over the next six years.
Training for school children
IDA launched a Women in STEM directory which details the programmes available across the attract, retain and promote framework. Among these 70 programmes, there is a network or project to complement every business culture. They start at school level with initiatives like VEX Robotics for primary school children who design, build and program their own robot to STEPS by Engineers Ireland giving Transition Year students hands-on, fun and practical insight into engineering.
In Ireland, there are approximately 118,000 people in jobs using STEM skills. The proportion of women in these roles is about 25%.
Programmes enabling women
The leaky talent pipeline for women in STEM underlines the importance of retention through strategic efforts. Many efforts are supported by our client companies such as CWIT and 30% Club’s mentoring network and DIGITAL Skillnet’s Women ReBOOT programme.
30% Club’s thought mentoring, executive education scholarships and board ready initiatives, in addition to WITS’ 30-year history of strategic networking and policy influencing, combine with 20 other programmes to enable the advancement of women in this space.
Internships for teachers
Education plays a strong role for women in technology. In 2019, Accenture’s Girls in STEM reported that teachers are one of the biggest influences in young girls. In 2016, the STEM teacher internship (STInt) was launched by Dublin City University, in collaboration with Accenture and the 30% Club for both primary and secondary school teachers. It provides future STEM teachers hands-on training for careers in the industry. This, in turn, will empower them to inspire their own students to engage in STEM subjects and careers.
The quality of Ireland’s education system and the calibre of its graduates are critical with the third level attainment rate significantly above the EU average in 2019 (55.4% versus 39.4%). We must continue to move the dial and make Ireland the leader for women in tech.