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Initiatives needed to encourage more women and girls into STEM careers - Archibald

24 April, 2018 - by Caoimhe Archibald

Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has commended the South West College's 'Miss STEM Europe' project for highlighting the need for initiatives to encourage more women and girls into STEM careers.

The Party's Further and Higher Education spokesperson said:

"Myself and Mid Ulster MLA Linda Dillon participated in a workshop delivered by the 'Miss STEM Europe' project in Parliament Buildings, Stormont today. This is an ERASMUS+ funded initiative delivered through South West College and the Leuven Institute which aims to shape future policies and initiatives to encourage more females into STEM education and careers by engaging with local, regional, national and European policy makers.

"The group presented three action points that they wish policy makers to take on board, these are practical initiatives which are implementable. Having engaged with council and the Assembly, the group will take their project to the European Parliament in June.

“Despite efforts to address the gender imbalance, there is still a large disparity in the number of women in STEM careers. This is particularly evident in ICT and engineering careers, and at higher levels in all careers.  Last year women represented only 18 percent of ICT professionals and 9 percent within engineering careers.

“Increased visibility of women in STEM careers is often cited as an important factor in encouraging more girls to choose science subjects and careers. One of the action points highlighted by the group was more STEM ambassadors, particularly females, in schools.

"The need for good informative careers advice is also often cited to ensure boys and girls are aware of the opportunities in STEM and other subjects.

"Of course, we also need to address the structural barriers which lead to less representation of women in STEM and women in the workforce in general."

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