As we just celebrated International Women’s Day, I felt compelled to talk about women in Science & Engineering. Most of us, female students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing (STEM) courses, we know that these fields are predominantly male and it can be somehow intimidating. For this reason, I will tell you how gender equality and equity are approached here in UL and why it makes UL the best university for women in STEM.
First of all, as you may already know, UL offers a great number of Clubs and Societies that students can engage with. Recently, a new Society was created to address the issues that female students encounter in STEM. This Society is called Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing, Mathematics and Design (WiSTEM2D).
They offer fun social events as well as opportunities for industrial site tours and career information sessions with industry relevant guest speakers. As STEM courses are male-dominant (female students are 26% of undergraduates in the Science and Engineering faculty at UL), the focus of this society is to empower women in the STEM2D discipline. For more information go to their website and join their society – www.ulsu.ie/clubssocs/society/175
Another reason why UL is the best university for women in STEM is that they have a great partnership with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to promote WiSTEM2D programmes. This partnership encourages and supports female undergraduates enrolling in STEM-related disciplines focusing on the importance of peer networking and mentoring support.
Moreover, the University of Limerick was granted the Athena SWAN Bronze Award for advancing gender equality through the university. Now, UL has 31% female Professors on its academic staff panel, the highest percentage from any other Irish University.
To conclude my post, I would like to leave a task to all female students in STEM: be advocates for women in STEM, try to break stereotypes and be role models to the younger generation of girls by encouraging them to take careers in STEM.
– Fernanda Zamboni