According to a recent article in the Irish Times, ten years ago 47% of new entrants into STEM courses at university level were women. By 2013, that proportion had fallen to 40%. This is also an issue in Europe, where less than 7% of tech positions are filled by women.
In 2014, Accenture released a report on the topic of women in STEM, ‘Attracting more women into science and technology’. In this report they published trends they found as to why there may be a shortage of women in STEM. One of these trends included the lack of female role models in the field of STEM.
Here in gradireland, we would like to pay homage to some of the leading female role models in the field of STEM;
- Dr Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Irish Astrophysicist, who is the first female president of the Institute of Physics.
- Dr Frances Allen, an American computer scientist, who was the first woman to win the A.M. Turing Award (Nobel Prize for computing).
- Lin Yang, pilot and astronaut, became the first Chinese woman in space in 2012.
- Megan Smith, former CEO of Google, was named the first female Chief Technology Officer in the USA in 2014.
- Regina Moran, Irish engineer, is the CEO of Fujitsu Ireland and President of Engineers Ireland.
- Maryam Mizakhani, Iranian Mathematician, became the first woman to in the fields medal (Nobel Prize for maths).
- Samantha Cristoforetti, astronaut, became the first Italian woman in space in 2014.
- Catherine Fake, American entrepreneur and businesswoman, was the founder of Flickr.
- Ingrid Daubechies, Belgian physicist and mathematician, is the first woman president of the International Mathematical Union.
- Sheryl Sandberg, American technology expert and former VP of global online sales and operations at Google, is the current Chief Operating Officer at Facebook.
- Lucu Bradshaw, American technology expert, turned her video game obsession into a successful career as the Senior Vice President of Electric Arts and created the most successful version of The Sims.
- Julia Hartz, American entrepreneur and telecommunications expert, is the co-founder and president of Eventbrite.
- Marissa Mayer, American software engineer, is the Vice President for location and local services at Google. She was hired as one of the first 20 employees in the company and was the first female engineer hired on the Google team.
- Ann Kelleher, Irish born electrical engineer, became the first women to be appointed as Vice President at Intel.
- Sadhbh McCarty, Irish security and defense expert, is the co-founder and CEO for The Centre of Irish and European Security (CIES).
The Irish industry is very aware of the importance of promoting women within the sectors of science, technology, engineering and maths, and in particular to increase the male/female ratio in these sectors. There are many campaigns and events which organisations hold in order to promote women in STEM, these include Women Invent Tomorrow, Ericsson’s TechWomen and WITS to name just a few. Here at gradireland we are dedicated to spreading this message to Irish students and graduates within these sectors and we look forward to seeing this list for female role models within STEM to grow in the coming years.
This year marks the second GRADchances STEM Fair, taking place on 16 February 2016 in the RDS Dublin. This one day event brings together STEM undergraduates and graduates with employers who are actively recruiting to fill STEM opportunities. For more information, visit the gradireland website.