Parents, particularly mothers, play an important role in helping their children choose their study options.
As parents, we want the very best for our children. From an educational perspective, that means helping our children to be curious and confident about all subjects across the curriculum so that they at least are open, interested and confident about their ability to study STEM subjects.
Earlier this year, Accenture, a management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, carried out research to identify attitudes of young women, parents and teachers to STEM subject choices. The report revealed that parents are viewed by young women as the key influencer when it comes to Leaving Cert subject selection and, ultimately, career choice.
It indicated that 55pc of parents believe their child will go on to have a career related to STEM and recognised that these subjects are important, However, the majority of parents felt under-equipped to advise their children.
So how can parents inform themselves and their children of the opportunities within STEM?
See your child's subject choices as building blocks of their overall skill set:
The nature of jobs requiring STEM skills are changing so fast that students are developing skills for jobs and careers that may not yet exist. This is a hugely exciting prospect, and a great way our young people can prepare themselves to be employable is to go as far as they can in areas such as maths, physics and chemistry at second level.
It is important to look across the breadth of STEM subjects and the associated skills that the student will also develop such as analytical thinking and problem-solving.
Put every option in front of your child
Tomorrow's economy will require a host of new skills, so while it may be difficult to envisage your child's career path right now, be open to all subjects (even if you don't fully understand them), and encourage your children to consider all possibilities and in particular challenging any gender stereotyping.
Marian Corcoran is managing director of Accenture Strategy