I Wish Cork
Anna NcKenna, Mary Leneghan and Rachel Martin at the launch of I Wish. Image via Darragh Kane

I Wish Cork event aims to boost women in STEM by 30pc by 2020

8 Dec 2015

Taking place on 11 and 12 February 2016, the I Wish event in City Hall, Cork is aiming to continue the efforts of boosting the number of women pursuing STEM subjects by 30pc by 2020.

The I Wish Cork event will be in its second year in 2016, with the aim of encouraging more than 2,000 female secondary students to attend workshops, exhibits and meetings with female STEM role models to change the status quo with an ambition to increase female entrants to third-level courses in STEM by 30pc by 2020.

The event is a multi-sponsored event with backers from all across Cork, including Cork Chamber, IT@Cork, and Cork City Council, supported by Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI), Dell, Cork County Council, University College Cork (UCC) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).

The initiative was co-founded in 2014 by three Cork business women – Gillian Keating, a partner at Ronan Daly Jermyn Solicitors; Caroline O’Driscoll, a partner KPMG and vice-chair of IT@Cork, and Ruth Buckley, head of ICT and business services at Cork City Council.

Many of the events taking place across the two days will see girls from secondary schools hear young female entrepreneurs discuss their tech and science backgrounds, as well as hearing from young women with careers in traditionally male-dominated areas such as engineering and maths.

A multitude of options available to women

“What we really want to get across to the young women attending the event is the variety of STEM career opportunities available to them, whether they choose to start their own business, work in industry or engage in life-changing research,” said co-founder Caroline O’Driscoll.

“For example, one of our speakers is a scientist at the INFANT Centre in UCC, who has helped develop an algorithm to detect when a baby’s brain is having a seizure, which is the first of its kind in the world.”

The centre has been well documented in recent times, most notably down to the work of its director and Inspirefest 2015 speaker Prof Louise Kenny, who was featured in a now award-winning episode of RTÉ’s The Science Squad.

The organisation also said that there is a high likelihood that the I Wish workshops and exhibitions will be rolled out nationally, with the first event outside of Cork to be held in Galway sometime next year.

Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Intel, Open Eir (formerly Eircom Wholesale), Fidelity Investments, Accenture and CoderDojo.

Colm Gorey
By Colm Gorey

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic. He joined in January 2014 and covered AI, IoT, science and anything that will get us to Mars quicker. When not trying to get his hands on the latest gaming release, he can be found lost in a sea of Wikipedia articles on obscure historic battles and countries that don't exist any more, or watching classic Simpsons episodes far too many times to count.

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