by Alan Jacques
SIXTEEN University of Limerick students have received scholarships as part of the Johnson & Johnson Ireland Women in STEM2D (WiSTEM2D) Award Programme.
Now in its sixth year at UL, the WiSTEM2D programme is run in collaboration with Lero – the Science Foundation Research Centre for Software, and will provide the scholarship recipients with extensive industry mentoring and leadership training.
WiSTEM2D refers to Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design. The WiSTEM2D programme underlines J&J’s commitment to developing and implementing high-impact strategies to support female students undertaking STEM2D degree courses at UL and in universities around the world.
Currently, there are approximately 117,800 people across Ireland who are working in jobs that require STEM skills. However, the CSO reports that just 25 per cent of these roles are performed by women, with just five per cent in leadership roles.
Whilst there has been a general upswing in the number of students choosing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects on their CAO applications, uptake among females remains low. Figures from a 2019 UCD study reveals that over 40 per cent of males list a STEM course versus just 19 per cent of females.
“At Johnson & Johnson, we recognise that women are still under-represented in the STEM workforce in Ireland. Since 2016, Johnson & Johnson has supported nearly 300 female students across Ireland through the WiSTEM2D programme. Over the last two years, we have worked very hard to ensure that the recipients of this award have not missed out on any opportunities despite the challenges posed by the pandemic,” said Anna Rafferty, Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D University Lead and Director of Strategy, Johnson & Johnson Campus Ireland.
“We have carried our virtual mentoring sessions and site visits, and continued to help these students build vital support networks. As employers in the STEM2D industry, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to support these young women who will become future STEM leaders.”