A Kildare Senator has said that more must be done for women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O' Loughlin, who also acts as Education Spokesperson and Chair of the Oireachtas Women’s Caucus, recently marked science week in the Seanad last Thursday.
While she commended the phenomenal work of the science community in the light of the pandemic, she also highlighted the lack of female participation in STEM.
Senator O’Loughlin said: "I think we have all got a renewed sense of gratitude and of respect for the pivotal work that is carried out within the scientific community... there is absolutely no doubt, that without the tireless and ground-breaking research within the scientific sphere we would not be where we are today in terms of COVID-19."
"That our children would not be back in classrooms, that we would not be able to see our loved ones get married or honour our dead in a meaningful way: the development of vaccines has given everyone in this country their lives back, and we owe the scientific community enormous gratitude for all they have contributed to our society... not just in Ireland, but globally."
She continued: "I also paid tribute to two local trailblazers — to Dr Teresa Lambe OBE from Kilcullen for her phenomenal contribution to the development of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, and also to Dr Kathleen Lonsdale, who was born in Newbridge in 1903 and played a fundamental role in establishing the science of crystallography.
"Whilst we have made great progress, I did highlight the gender imbalance in STEM... a recent UCD Study showed that over 40 per cent of boys list a STEM course versus just 19 per cent of girls on their CAO.
"Also, the European University Institute found that just one in six engineering graduates are women."
She added: “Women in Technology and Science Ireland are hosting a STEM Student Career Series, and I would encourage any young girl out there who has been inspired by what they saw throughout science week to pop along and consider STEM."
"The talented young women are out there, and they have a contribution to make, but we need to nurture and encourage them into the field."
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