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Women outnumbered 9:1 in STEM sector

Written by Business World, on 8th Oct 2014. Posted in Ireland

article headlineMen outnumber women by a factor of nine men to every woman in Ireland's fast-growing STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) sector, a Dublin careers event was told today. Over 240 female, second-level students were in Dublin today to showcase engineering as an exciting career path for women. The first of its kind, the event aimed to inspire young women to consider engineering as a career or a third level option. With Ireland facing a shortage of skilled engineering talent and with a ratio of 9:1 men to women in the industry, "women largely remain an untapped resource in our profession," says Fujitsu Ireland CEO and Engineers Ireland President Regina Moran, who is a chartered engineer and keynote speaker at the event. Around 118,000 people in Ireland are working in jobs that use STEM skills, but the proportion of women employed in such roles is less than 25 per cent, according to the Central Statistics Office. Meanwhile, according to the Forfás Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, Irish companies will have an estimated 44,500 job openings for people with high-level ICT skills over the next six years. With female graduates making up just 16 per cent of all engineering graduates in Ireland in 2013, it is clear that more women are needed to help address the skills shortage in the engineering, science and technology sectors. 'Engineering Your Future: Women in Engineering' took place today at Dublin Castle. Some 245 second and third year female students met women engineers from a variety of engineering backgrounds in multiple roundtable discussions. The roundtable discussions followed a series of short talks by women engineers, including a keynote address by Regina Moran. "We must find ways of attracting young women as well as young men to join forces with us and tackle some of the world's greatest issues," said Ms Moran. "As part of my term as President of Engineers Ireland, I will champion the schools, colleges and companies who are encouraging women to join the engineering world at any level." Also speaking at the event were Niamh Shaw, a performer, engineer and scientist; Laura Tobin, a PhD candidate in optical engineering at UCD; and identical twins Edel and Lourda Casserly, both engineers working in industry. A parallel session for parents, teachers and guidance counsellors provided an opportunity to meet engineers from industry, academia and professional organisations, and to find out why there is a need for more women engineers, where skills gaps exist, the requirements for studying engineering and the access routes to third level. For more visit www.businessworld.ie

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