UL student, Jessica Silva (centre) with, Liz Dooley, Director Operations Janssen Sciences Ireland and Dr. Regina Kelly, Science Education Project Officer EPI*STEM | Picture: Alan Place
GLOBAL healthcare company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and the University of Limerick (UL) have entered the second year of their collaborative education WiSTEM2D programme.
The Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design initiative is part of J&J’s commitment to building a diverse WiSTEM2D community by mobilising brilliant minds that ignite great ideas.
“The research outputs from the first year of the WiSTEM2D programme identified a lack of female role models in STEM-related fields and confirmed that men outnumber women in most STEM careers,” said President of UL, Dr Des Fitzgerald.
“Of particular concern, however, is that female students participating in the study reported feeling isolated in male-dominated classes and, perhaps most worryingly, females’ perception of their own intelligence was poor, even though their grades were equal to those of their male counterparts,” he added.
At a national level, just 25% of people currently working in STEM-related careers in Ireland are women.
Johnson & Johnson currently partners with 10 universities around the world to encourage and support female undergraduates enrolling in STEM-related disciplines. UL is the only Irish university participating in the global initiative.
Minister for Higher Education at the Department of Education, Mary Mitchell-O’Connor says she is fully supportive of the collaboration.
“The under-representation of women in the STEM workforce has to be addressed and this partnership between Johnson & Johnson and UL, which focuses on increasing the number of female STEM graduates, is an excellent example of higher education and business working together to address this problem,” she said
Mark Benson of J&J said: “Recognising that increasing female participation in STEM subjects remains a global challenge and women are greatly under-represented in the STEM workforce in Ireland, we are very excited to be partnering with the University of Limerick to help close these gaps and build the professional STEM talent pipeline,” he said.