Importance of STEM role models for young girls highlighted at Microsoft DreamSpace event
Almost half of young girls in Ireland are interested in STEM subjects when they are inspired by a female peer.
According to research carried out by Microsoft, the number of girls who reported an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics jumped from 38pc to 46pc in this scenario.
Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland said: "Every young person deserves the opportunity to participate in our digital world and develop a passion for technology.
"However, we face a significant challenge in encouraging more girls to become interested in technology-related careers. Despite girls becoming interested in technology around the age of 11, girls start to lose interested in STEM subjects around the age of 15."
The findings were revealed at a special event hosted in the firm's new innovation and education hub DreamSpace at the newly opened One Microsoft Place campus.
Sixth class students from St. Thomas’s SNS in Tallaght, Sacred Heart NS in Clondalkin and Guardian Angels NS in Blackrock were invited to mark Girls in ICT on Thursday, April 26, at the hub.
They listened to guest speakers share their stories of how embracing technology led to their own success.
Delivering the 5-minute empowerment talks were teen Kate Madden of FenuHealth. Junk Kouture's COO Sara Ryan, and Microsoft graduate employee Paula Kiernan.
"By leveraging social media and developing a digital-first approach to all I do, I’ve helped to showcase the extraordinary talent amongst students in Ireland and inspire others to be break boundaries of creative design, said Sara Ryan.
The students also heard about new innovations and what working in tech involves from Bernadette Thalhammer and Barbara de Kegel from Havok.
Microsoft's research showed that three out of five girls in Ireland can imagine a future career in STEM if they have strong role models in their lives.
Microsoft said it is committed to bringing 100,000 primary and TY students to One Microsoft Place over the next four years to participate in the DreamSpace experience.