Sixty-five per cent of teenage girls believe that barriers in pursuing a career in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields could be addressed by enhancing confidence through mentorship. Sixty-eight per cent believe that hearing success stories about women in STEM is a good first step.

This is according to the I Wish 2021 survey, that saw 2,449 Irish teenage girls express their attitude towards STEM. I Wish is a community that aims to showcase the power of STEM to teenage girls.

The I Wish 2022 virtual showcase, which took place on 10 February, is the first step the community is taking to break down the barriers teenage girls interested in STEM face.

Event and speakers

The free event saw over 16,000 girls attend and featured over 70 inspirational STEM leaders and gender-equality advocates.

Speakers included former Irish president Mary Robinson; deputy ambassador at the Embassy of Ireland in Washington DC, Orla Keane; award-winning game designer Brenda Romero; mechanical engineer and international hockey player Nicci Daly; and many more.

Now more than ever

Co-founder of I Wish Caroline O’Driscoll sees an urgency to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM.

She says: “The pandemic has accelerated the pace of scientific and technological discovery. It is estimated that of the 20 fastest-growing careers across the world, 15 require a background in maths or science yet only 25% of STEM roles in Ireland are held by females.

I Wish 2022 was about showing these girls that they can achieve anything

“There really has never been a more pressing time to attract girls to STEM careers. At I Wish, our mission is to ensure that every girl feels confident to take their place in the economies of the future.

“I Wish 2022 was about showing these girls that they can achieve anything and break past the stereotypes that often exist in society.”

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