Changing the ratio starts now as Inspirefest 2015 is officially launched (video)

22 Apr 2015's editor-at-large, Ann O'Dea, Niamh Scanlon of CoderDojo Girls and Kerry Howard, researcher of Bletchley Park

Under the banner ‘changing the ratio’, has now officially launched Inspirefest 2015 with 2,000 STEM professionals expected to gather in Dublin in June to promote diversity in tech.

Taking place between 18 and 20 June in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and Merrion Square Park, the event is attempting to move on from the groundwork that has been laid in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and start a new future where people from all backgrounds have a chance of being the next innovator.

The most noticeable difference between Inspirefest and other STEM events is that it will be predominantly female led, with 70pc of speakers being female, in what would not only be a first for Ireland, but for the world as well.

To give a flavour of who will be speaking at Inspirefest 2015, some of the confirmed speakers include: Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Shelly Porges; astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell; Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant; MakeLoveNotPorn founder Cindy Gallop; founder Ariel Waldman; Recode co-executive editor Kara Swisher; Techmums founder Dr Sue Black; Giant Spacekat co-founder Brianna Wu, Dublin’s commissioner for start-ups Niamh Bushnell and Bletchley Park researcher Kerry Howard.

Attitudes need to change in STEM

Speaking at the event’s launch this morning (22 April) at the Marker Hotel in Dublin,’s editor-at-large Ann O’Dea spoke of how vital a major shift in the way women in particular think about getting into STEM was necessary: “To address the current skills shortages, firstly, we need to ensure more girls are inspired to study STEM subjects and pursue careers in these fields by showcasing inspirational women, who have broken down barriers and achieved real success in these areas.

“Secondly, we need to tackle the very real problem of the number of women leaving tech and science careers. Attitudes in the sector will have to change if it is to offer welcoming and inclusive career options for bright young women and minority groups. Inspirefest 2015 is designed to showcase those people and initiatives that are truly game-changers in the industry.”

Addresses critical market gap

Also speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, said of the event’s importance: “Reflecting the Government’s aim to have the right skills in these areas, we have noticed an upward trend in recent years for students opting to take STEM subjects at post primary and third level. I believe Inspirefest has addressed a critical market gap by aiming to shine a light on high-calibre women in this field to showcase their achievements and break down barriers for future generations.”

During the evenings, following the events in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, a fringe festival will take place in the historic surrounds of Merrion Square Park, ending with a free outreach event on Saturday, 20 June, with coding workshops for children and adults, and hackathons, among other events.

Tickets are on sale now at a special early-bird price of €450, as well as great value two-for-one tickets and discounts for bootstrapped start-ups and students. Sale ends at midnight on 15 May 2015.

Inspirefest 2015 is Silicon Republic’s unique international sci-tech event running 18-19 June in Dublin, connecting professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity. Buy your early bird tickets now! You don’t want to miss this!

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic