Greater efforts must be made to encourage girls to take up STEM

08 March 2018

Labour Party Education spokesperson, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has called for greater efforts to be made to encourage women and girls to study and teach STEM subjects in schools.

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“In the Irish media today and indeed across the world, we are hearing about innovative Irish women who are making waves across the world in the fields of science and technology. These women prove why we need to encourage more young women to study science in school and at third level.

“In its 2016 report, the STEM Education Review Group highlighted issues around subject choice in second level, with girls making up just 5.3% of all Leaving Cert Engineering students in 2015. A ratio of 3:1 boys over girls studied physics, with more girls than boys studying biology.

“A report by Accenture Ireland that looked at the STEM issue pointed to certain ‘barriers to entry’ for women in STEM, such as negative stereotypes towards STEM subjects and careers as being more suitable for boys than girls, and the need for parents to inform themselves about careers in STEM to positively influence their daughters.

“There is huge potential for the growth of STEM in Ireland, and girls must be given every encouragement and opportunity to continue on this path from a young age.

“More must be done to encourage women studying STEM subjects at third level to consider a career in teaching these subjects. In order to make teaching an attractive option for STEM graduates, the Minister for Education must produce a roadmap to pay equality for newly qualified teachers.”

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