WITS Ireland member and Director of Product Management, Workhuman
WITS Ireland member and Technology Graduate Programme, AIB
In order to engage more women in STEM subjects, we need to find ways to show them what opportunities and paths are available.
Central to our purpose as an organisation is the attraction, retention and development of women in STEM. Recent statistics from the Central Statistics Office tell us that while almost 50% of those sitting Junior Cert Science in 2015 were girls, only 25% of those working in STEM careers are female. Women in Technology & Science Ireland (WITS) is a volunteer led organisation and has engaged with the student population at second and third level to encourage more girls to understand the opportunities a career in STEM can provide.
Visible role models and mentors
Martina Campbell is a member of the executive of WITS Ireland and co-lead of the WITS Ireland events committee. Also a Director of Product Management at Dublin based HR company, Workhuman, Martina is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM, particularly in promoting and shining a light on the wide range of roles available. It’s important for girls to have visible role models and access to mentors who can provide real insight into the their day to day STEM careers.
From this the annual WITS Ireland Student Careers Series was established and it has been able to help third level students gain this insight. Kicking off again this October, the career series gives students the opportunity to learn about roles they may not be aware of. They will also hear first-hand experience of women in these roles and their career paths. Companies such as AWS, ESB and Workhuman have participated previously as well as researchers from TCD, RCSI and UCD.
It’s important for girls to have visible role models and access to mentors who can provide real insight into the their day to day STEM careers.
Providing career advice
One of those who benefited from the Student Series was Nuwriya Abdullah, currently working on a Technology Graduate Programme within financial services. Having joined us as a student member Nuwriya says that: “My time as a member has given me the opportunity to meet many other intelligent women at different levels of their STEM careers. I received some great advice on the steps I could take before starting my career as a Software Engineer.”
Showcasing the variety of paths available enables students to think beyond their expectations and consider different routes into STEM careers. In 2018, only 2% of those finishing apprenticeships were female. Therefore, we are working closely with member organisations to platform the variety of apprenticeships and encourage students to consider these options.