SENIOR leaders from 18 top technology companies in Ireland met last week in IBM Ireland’s HQ in Dublin at the annual Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) CEO forum.
The group have been collaborating on a common goal of attracting, retaining and promoting females in the technology sector.
The tech leaders were joined by Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, who discussed the importance of promoting STEM and technology careers at school level and promoting female role models in industry – actions which will encourage young women into areas where females are currently underrepresented.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister Bruton said: “I am always urging all of our young people, but especially young women, to consider a career in STEM [subjects] and I’m delighted to see senior leaders across the technology sector coming together today to encourage the same.
“The vibrant technology sector we have here in Ireland is an important part of Ireland’s economic success.”
Minister Bruton added that he was encouraged to see cooperation between the education and technology sectors in promoting inclusion and diversity.
Over the past 12 months, in addition to their own diversity and inclusion programmes, CWIT member companies have undertaken a range of activities to improve gender diversity in their industry.
These include “IT is not just for geeks”, a programme that educates students and encourages girls in particular on the vast array of opportunities in the technology sector.
More than 4,000 students were reached by the programme, and there are plans to expand this initiative in 2018.
In addition, the STEM Teacher Internship programme, supported by CWIT and 30% Club Ireland, has facilitated 11 student teachers from the BSc Science Education in Dublin City University to complete 12-week paid internships in Accenture, AIB and Intel.
There are plans to increase the number of internships next year, with IBM, Virgin Media and Vodafone set to facilitate placements.