The number of females taking up Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and third level courses is too low. Just 6% to 7% of all technical roles in Europe are filled by women. It is predicted that there will be a 5% year on year increase in the demand for high level ICT skills in Ireland between now and 2018 and the low take up of STEM subjects by women mean that we are leaving half of the tare leaving 50% of the talent pool behind. Changing this trend can solve the current skills gap in the industry.
In a bid to rectify this gender imbalance the I WISH initiative was co-founded in 2014 by three Cork business women – Gillian Keating, Partner, Ronan Daly Jermyn Solicitors, Caroline O’Driscoll, Partner KPMG and vice chair it@cork and Ruth Buckley, Head of ICT & Business Services at Cork City Council. The hugely successful inaugural I WISH event was launched in 2015 and in response to the demand created by the event the 2016 event will take place on 11 & 12 February 2016 in City Hall, Cork. The 2 day I WISH event will cater for 2000 young women from schools across Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford. The event includes talks, demonstrations and interactive hubs where students can meet and engage with inspiring women working in a variety of STEM roles. Students will also hear from female leaders in Dell, PepsiCo, Google, Vodafone, Twitter and young female entrepreneurs about tech and science careers for women, as well as young women with careers in traditionally male-dominated areas such as engineering and maths.
A recent study by Forbes Magazine also showed that careers in science and engineering are among some of the best-paying jobs for women. I WISH want to show women that career in STEM is an exciting and valuable avenue. I WISH advocates– Choices, Chances and Changes and the aim of the event is to show that there is a world of choice and opportunities available to young girls across all STEM fields and I WISH is about changing the perception of what a career in STEM looks like and highlight the exciting and rewarding careers in STEM that are open to them.
I WISH takes place in Cork City Hall on 11 & 12 February 2016. The events are free to attend and promise to really benefit young women with hands-on practical information, talks and demonstrations by women in STEM roles. For more information, please visit www.iwish.ie