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Women in STEM Q2 2022

A complex change that needs joined up thinking

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Gillian Harford

Country Executive, 30% Club

Ultimately, complex issues don’t always require complex solutions, but at a minimum we get better outcomes when we align our efforts to drive change.


Less than 25% of STEM roles in Irish workplaces are held by women. When we consider that technology related skills will be critical to all roles into the future, this is no longer a single strand agenda.

Unlike other skills challenges, this particular issue extends back into the earliest stages of the pipeline and impacts in so many ways that single solutions will be unlikely to drive success. Therefore, a more integrated approach is needed where agencies, interested parties and stakeholders work together to drive progress from the classroom to the boardroom.

Leading the way in the classroom

A great example of collaboration is the STEM Teacher Intern Programme, where teachers in training spend a short placement in industry learning skills to bring to the classroom; helping future generations appreciate the value of maths and science related subjects.

While many initiatives focus on encouraging more young women into STEM, the challenge at the other end of the pipeline is ensuring that women stay in the industry.

Established by DCU in 2016, the programme receives funding from SFI, extends to six Irish Universities, and is supported by more than 40 organisations primarily through the 30% Club and CWiT (Connecting Women in Technology).

It is the perfect example of education, government and business working together to drive change. To date, 175 teachers, who have completed the programme, are demonstrating their skills in our classrooms and a further 60 pre-service teachers are set to join them this summer.

Following the pipeline to the boardroom

While many initiatives focus on encouraging more young women into STEM, the challenge at the other end of the pipeline is ensuring that women stay in the industry and, more importantly, that they progress to the most senior roles at c-suite and into the boardroom. This will bring better balance in decision making for better business outcomes and providing ‘see it to be it’ role models for the next generation.

This year, the 30% Club is delighted to launch a new networking programme for senior female talented executives in the tech industry. Working with the support of our partners in EY, representatives from 30 organisations will come together in the first programme of its kind in Ireland networking senior talent in a collaborative way to drive forward the CEO talent pipeline not just for their organisations, but for the industry collectively.

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