We are fast approaching a tipping point for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Ireland. Skills shortages, societal impact, talent development and technology trends are converging to make STEM a pressing national question.
Powering Economic Growth: Attracting More Young Women into Science and Technology 3.0 sheds further light on the barriers to encouraging girls to study STEM subjects and to sustaining that path through secondary education and into third-level and beyond.
The research findings that form the backdrop of the 2017 report show us that it’s clear we still have more to do to ensure that girls are not missing the opportunity for creative and purposeful careers.
Barriers that prevent more girls getting involved in STEM
Negative stereotypes towards STEM subjects and careers as more suitable for boys; and yet girls are influenced more by their parents, teachers and friends than boys
Parents' influential role in their daughters' education and career choices, yet lacking information about career options
Fragmented STEM information and less obvious career paths than other disciplines, making it hard for teachers, parents and children to evaluate options
A disconnection between industry skills needs and girls’ choices for Leaving Cert subjects.
Recommendations for action
Intervene early to alleviate negative perceptions of STEM at an early age.
Help parents educate themselves further about STEM subjects so that they have a positive influence on their children.
Alter the way we speak about careers to enable children to envisage what a career in STEM might look like.
Ensure industry, the education system and Government collaborate more closely so that, together, we can deliver a consistent message, in a sustained way, at a national level.