New research by Accenture Ireland and I Wish released today reveals that parents and teachers are the key influencers in girls’ subjects and career choices. The research proposed that more information be directed to them to encourage girls to take up careers in STEM. The studies which included feedback from over 3,000 Irish students, parents and teachers are aimed at attracting more girls and young women into studying and ultimately pursuing careers in STEM disciplines.
This information was presented to a packed room of educationalists, influencers & industry leaders at Accenture Grand Canal Dock this morning. David Stanton, TD addressed the room and gave his support to to the much needed insight into the under-representation of women and girls in STEM.
In terms of parental pressure it was revealed that 65% of girls say their parents are most likely to influence subject choices at school and 50% said their parents influence their career aspirations. Despite their high level of influence almost one third of parents and teachers (29%) still perceive STEM disciplines as being more closely fitting boy’s brains, personalities and hobbies. Almost a quarter of teachers feel that the gender divergence in perceptions of STEM begins between the ages of 7 and 11, with one in ten teachers believing that the gender gap begins to appear before primary school.
Teachers also emerged as hugely influential in terms of choosing what to study with 94% of female students influenced by how subjects are taught. However one third of teachers surveyed said they did not know enough about STEM and STEM courses and careers. The majority of teachers want more support through training and access to STEM role models and industry.
Paula Neary, Client Director at Accenture Ireland said,
“ A new trend that has emerged is the need to change the ways we talk about STEM “Sport Equipment Inventor “ are more appealing to young girls than traditional job titles such as “engineer””.
The publication of the report and subsequent panel discussion elicited an animated discussion with Paula Neary outlining the need for education, government and industry to work together as part of the “coalition of the willing”.
— Ciara (@CiaraGarvan) August 17, 2017