UL to drive more women towards 'male jobs'

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

UL to drive more women towards 'male jobs'

Professor Edmond Magner, Professor Ita Richardson, Dr Leisha Daly, David Stanton TD, Dr Mary Shire, Liz Dooley at the launch of WISTEM2D in UL

MORE women are being encouraged to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, manufacturing and design, under a new collaboration with the University of Limerick.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has entered into 10 partnerships around the world to encourage the increase of undergraduate women enrolling in STEM2D (science, technology, engineering and math) related disciplines.

UL is the only Irish university to be chosen to participate in the company’s global initiative.

The new programme will focus on increasing the number of undergraduate women enrolling in STEM programmes at UL and those graduating with STEM degrees. 

Dr. Leisha Daly said that they are “increasingly aware of the fact that only one quarter of people currently working in STEM related careers in Ireland are women.”

This collaboration will seek to identify the barriers that currently exist and facilitate programmes that will allow for greater female participation in STEM.  

“By partnering with UL and offering a mentoring support programme, we can provide role models that will promote and encourage STEM on campus, specifically amongst female undergraduates and post graduates”, said Dr Daly.

Speaking on behalf of UL, Dr. Mary Shire, Vice President Research, said UL has the highest number of females in professorial roles in Ireland and is one of the first Irish universities to have achieved an Athena Swan award. “Supporting greater female participation at undergraduate level in the STEM subjects is a vital part in promoting greater diversity at all academic and professional stages,” said Dr Shire. 

Currently only 25% of people working in STEM related careers in Ireland are women. In the 2016 Leaving Certificate cycle, 5,254 boys sat the engineering exam, compared with just 315 girls – or under six per cent. Less than seven per cent of all technical roles in Europe are filled by women.