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Powering economic growth: Attracting more young women into Science and Technology 2.0

Ireland has a vision to be a world-leading centre for the industries of tomorrow. According to the IDA, over 1,150 companies from global giants to the hottest high growth brands have chosen Ireland as their strategic European base. We also have a world class start-up culture that is thriving under a strong local ecosystem. This is what makes Ireland unique and a magnet for entrepreneurs, investors and some of the most innovative multi-nationals globally.

We are well on the way to having a strong and thriving economy with some of the lowest employment rates in the world.

But to maintain this position and to ensure Ireland is at the forefront of the Digital Economy, we need to ensure that we have the best talent in the world –not just now but into the future.

Accenture has been a partner of Women Invent Tomorrow since its inception in 2013. We know that women are vastly under-represented in the Science and technology based careers. Together we studied this area in detail and we identified barriers to girls studying for and moving into STEM careers. We also proposed a number of recommendations to help break down these barriers

But the issue of attracting girls into STEM continues. This new report tracks progress in the last two years and the results clearly show that we still have an issue in this area. Our research shows that negative stereotypes persist.

Girls and young women still believe that STEM subjects are more aligned to ‘male’ careers. We are also seeing what we term “Influence Ambiguity”- parents and teachers are the biggest influencers of school subjects chosen amongst girls and also most likely to influence career aspirations, but are not aware of the role they play and not informed sufficiently.

It is time to see change in Ireland. We need to build on the momentum and push forward strongly and quickly in order to be a leader in the digital world. By strengthening and expanding the partnerships that have evolved between Government, industry and our schools, we can make STEM subjects a reality for our students, and not just an academic curiosity. And Ireland can really position itself as a global STEM hub and a magnet for talent.