Johnson & Johnson has partnered with University College Cork to encourage more women to pursue STEM disciplines.
University College Cork (UCC), in partnership with Johnson & Johnson (J&J), has today (12 October) announced that it will be launching its inaugural Women in STEM programme, WiSTEM2D. The programme aims to encourage young women to pursue careers in areas such as science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM) and design. Currently, women comprise only a quarter of the STEM workforce.
The programme is similar to one that J&J launched with University of Limerick that is now in its third year. In total, J&J has entered into 13 such partnerships with universities worldwide. These programmes were founded to further J&J’s aim to address the shortage of women in STEM careers in Ireland and increase the number of undergraduate women enrolling in these fields.
The programme grants support to students studying STEM and manufacturing and design disciplines. Ongoing membership is also provided to female STEM students by J&J. Alongside these hands-on efforts, elements of the programme include research into the barriers to retaining women in STEM fields. Previous research conducted during the first year of WiSTEM2D yielded some rather grim insights into how female STEM students feel in educational environments, with many participants reporting feeling isolated in male-dominated classes and having a poor perception of their own intelligence.
Speaking at the launch, director of operations at Janssen Supply Chain Ireland, Liz Dooley, said: “At Johnson & Johnson, we are delighted to be partnering with UCC to expand the WiSTEM2D programme to a second Irish university … Research has highlighted the importance of female role models in encouraging young girls to choose STEM subjects, while mentoring and peer networks are identified as support models for students as they progress through university.
“It builds confidence and belonging, and gives young women the practical and active example of what they can do, while also ensuring they see the variety of careers on offer to them.
“Where there is underrepresentation of women, there is underrepresentation of diversity of thought and opinion. We want to build a diverse STEM2D community and the next generation of female role models.”