The I Wish 2022 Virtual Event is taking place today with over 16000 teenage girls expected to tune in across 5 different live sessions.
Hosted by RTE TV Presenter Sinead Kennedy, over 70 inspirational female STEM leaders and advocates are set to share their stories throughout the day.
The I Wish 2022 virtual event is about highlighting the possibilities of a career in STEM and having a virtual allows the message to be extended globally.
The 8th annual flagship event was kicked off by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, with his opening address highlighting the importance of the event and why we need more females in STEM now more than ever.
An Taoiseach said: “Over the past two years, each and every one of us has noticed the positive impact STEM has had in the world around us.
“It has assisted in the development of vaccines, contact-tracing apps and ventilators and has helped to predict the trajectory of Covid-19.
“The demand for STEM jobs is increasing exponentially yet despite this, we have a shortage of qualified specialists to fill these positions.
“Now More than ever we need more females in STEM, research shows us that greater gender balance in the workplace provides many benefits.
“These include different perspectives, increased creativity, better decision making and greater innovation.
“The Government acknowledges the need to increase the uptake of STEM subjects and to enhance STEM learning for those of all backgrounds, abilities and gender, with a particular focus on uptake by females.
“I am passionate about education and I’m very clear about the hugely positive impact STEM education has had on our society and economy over the decades, it is very important work.”
The final speaker of the first session was I Wish Co-Founder Caroline O’Driscoll, who spoke about why it is so important for young women to pursue careers in STEM and the efforts being made to close the gender gap.
Caroline said: “Jobs are changing and they are changing at a remarkable rate, all because of STEM.
“Today you can be a sustainability manager, a podcast producer, a drone operator, a crypto analyst, all jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago, imagine what the next 10 years will bring for you but only if you participate.
“Less than 25% of the STEM workforce is female and Covid has made the STEM poverty gap worse for women.
“It is estimated that it will another 135 years before the gender gap is closed. That means if you do nothing, we will not see gender parity in your lifetime.
“We need you, girls, now more than ever to help solve some of the most fundamental problems this world is facing, from Covid to Climate Change we need the best and brightest minds, we need you to participate in the economies of tomorrow.
Other speakers from the first session of the day included European Commissioner Mareaid McGuiness, Google Site Reliability Engineer Eimear Crotty, Nicola Kiely from Vodafone, Emma Keyes from Irish Water and Aisling Hahessy from ARUP.
The I Wish 2022 virtual event will continue throughout the day with 4 more sessions scheduled to take place and can be viewed at: https://www.iwish.ie/watch-live/.
The article was originally posted on the Irish Tech News.