University of Limerick host its 10th annual Women’s Day conference

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Brown Thomas
The main building at the University of Limerick

University of Limerick  hosted its 10th annual International Women’s Day conference today. The conference entitled #PressforProgress was supported by Northern Trust, Johnson & Johnson, Dell EMC and Bank of Ireland and was attended by members of the Mid-West business and education community.

The conference was chaired by Brid Horan, former Deputy CEO of ESB and a member of the steering committee and former chair of the 30% Club, formed in 2015 with a goal to achieve better gender balance at all levels in leading Irish businesses.

Contributors from across industry and academia discussed the topic of Women Pressing for Progress.

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UL lecturer Brenda Romero, a BAFTA award-winning game designer, artist and Fulbright scholar spoke about her experience since she entered the video game industry in 1981. As a designer, she has worked on 47 games and contributed to many seminal titles, including the Wizardry and Jagged Alliance series and titles in the Ghost Recon, Dungeons & Dragons and Def Jam franchises.

Further discussion focused on the challenges facing Women in STEM.

Marie Connolly, Head of Equality and Diversity, University of Limerick said “UL is delighted to be celebrating the 10th year of its Annual International Women’s Day Conference in collaboration with industry partners, Northern Trust, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of Ireland, Maples and DellEMC who have been partnering with us on the conference and gender projects for many years.

Also at the conference, Ian Headon, Senior Vice President of Northern Trust interviewed former Ireland rugby international David Wallace who is also Regional Business Development Manager at Bank of Ireland.

A number of second and third year UL students participating in the WiSTEM2D programme were presented with awards at the event. The WiSTEM2D: Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing, and Design (STEM2D) programme was established by Johnson & Johnson in 2015 with the aim of providing additional support at undergraduate level and encouraging women into exciting STEM careers.

A total of 20 students from science, technology, engineering, maths, manufacturing, and design courses were selected to participate. As part of the programme, these students met at workshops where they discussed their experiences as women pursuing a career in STEM, listened to female STEM role models and engaged in projects that aimed to challenge STEM stereotypes.

The students worked in groups to produce five videos that aimed to specifically target stereotypes in design, engineering, biology, technology and chemistry.

University of Limerick also hosted other International Women’s Day events, including the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre’s launch of Women in SSPC, WiSSPC. WiSSPC is a networking and developing initiative designed to accelerate female professional development in SSPC. Chaired by Professor Michael Zaworotko, SSPC director, keynote speaker was Domhnait Gleeson of Science Foundation Ireland.

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