Irish CEOs and leaders meet to discuss supports for women in tech

8 Nov 2017

From left: CWIT chairs Ifah Sivak and Etain Seymour; Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, TD; Fiona Coyle; and Lisa D’Arcy at IBM offices in Dublin. Image: Julien Behal Photography

Senior leaders from top technology companies met to discuss fostering women’s tech talent in Ireland.

Today (8 November) a number of tech CEOs and leaders met at the annual Connecting Women In Technology (CWIT) CEO forum at IBM’s HQ in Dublin to discuss attracting, retaining and promoting women in tech.

The leaders were joined by Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, TD, with members including: BT, Dropbox, Eir, Ericsson, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, HPI, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Twitter, Virgin Media, Dell EMC, Accenture, Microsoft and Vodafone.

Firms working together for women in tech

Over the past year, CWIT members have undertaken a variety of activities to boost gender diversity in their industry, including the ‘IT is not just for geeks’ programme, which reached more than 4,000 students and plans to expand for 2018.

The STEM Teacher Internship Programme, supported by CWIT and 30% Club Ireland, has facilitated 11 student teachers from the BSc in science education group at Dublin City University to complete 12-week paid internships in Accenture, Intel and AIB.

The internship scheme aimed to give teachers first-hand experience of working in the tech sector, and the project will expand to include internships from IBM, Virgin Media and Vodafone.

CWIT is also focusing on refreshing the ICT Skills Action Plan 2014-2018, and is working closely with the Department of Education and Skills to promote inclusion-specific actions within the plan.

Encouraging underrepresented groups

Minister Bruton spoke at the meeting: “I am always urging all of our young people, but especially young women, to consider a career in STEM and I’m delighted to see senior leaders across the technology sector coming together today at the Connecting Women in Technology CEO forum to encourage the same.”

He continued: “With input from industry, including CWIT, the ICT Action Plan will include specific initiatives to encourage women and underrepresented groups to take up science and technology subjects and seriously consider the technology sector when making their career choice.

“I am very encouraged today to see the emphasis being placed on cooperation between education and the technology sector in promoting inclusion, awareness-raising and diversity.”

CWIT spokesperson Etain Seymour said that the meeting was “a great opportunity for Ireland’s leading technology players to outline our approach, developments and vision for 2018 and beyond”.

She added: “We are confident that initiatives such as our STEM Internship programme and input into the national ICT Skills Plan will improve gender diversity in an industry as crucial as technology.

“The engagement illustrates and validates the commitment that there is amongst our industry leaders to attract, retain and promote more females in the technology sector within Ireland’s smart economy.”

Updated, 12.04pm, 9 November 2017: This article was updated to include all companies associated with CWIT.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects