The successful launch of Outbox Incubator in 2015 in the UK has seen the Stemettes movement pick up serious pace – a new documentary will surely add to that.
Promoting science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM) industries to girls aged 11-22, Outbox Incubator is one of the more recent initiatives to what has become a global movement.
The inaugural run saw more than 100 young women take up residence in a house in London to learn about STEM, communications, business and how to work as a team.
All on camera
Speakers and mentors visited the house for talks and workshops, there were weekly outings to companies, and many of the participants got to pitch their business ideas to a room full of potential investors.
It was all filmed and now, 18 months later, a documentary is highlighting the success of the event.
Set at the ‘Dragon’s Den meets Big Brother’ house, we hear from future innovators and industry leaders about technology, entrepreneurship and why the industry has to change. The movie is dubbed Eat.Sleep.STEM.Repeat.
Founded by Mary Carty and entrepreneur Anne-Marie Imafidon of Stemettes, the project’s initial success saw Dublin chosen as a base for the second Outbox Incubator, to be held later this year.
Imafidon said the whole idea of Outbox Incubator revolves around the mantra: ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’. Thus, presenting young women with role models is key to help fill a talent gap evident across the STEM industries.
“We’ve learnt about the nuances in one’s sense of identity but also the power of media,” said Imafidon.
“Stereotypes and role models are carried in the same way. Like a two-edged sword, media can work against someone’s perspective on their opportunities, options and abilities, as well as having a positive influence.
“As we present this documentary, we’re continuing discussions with various production companies in a bid to change wider social norms. Ultimately, this is a battle of hearts and minds.”
“The creators are hoping schools throughout Ireland host screenings of the documentary, encouraging further numbers of young girls to familiarise themselves with STEM subjects.
Feel the force
The problem of under-representation throughout the various fields of STEM is being felt most acutely by the major employers. One of those is Salesforce, which took part in this latest development and noted the industry concerns.
“As the pace of innovation increases, so too does the demand for digital talent,” said Mark Stanley, VP of Salesforce’s EMEA marketing.
“Improving technology skills in Ireland is of particular importance to us, with Ireland ranking highest in terms of the mismatch between skills and jobs in the Hays Global Skills Index.
“In 2015, a quarter of those working in Ireland’s STEM industries were women. Women are under-represented in the tech sector. We see a need to help nurture the talents of young women interested in technology careers, both today and for the workforce of tomorrow.”
Today and tomorrow
Stanley claimed that there is an urgent need for young people – male and female – to study these areas, and this will only grow in the future.
“I think it’s particularly important to encourage students to pursue their passion in STEM subjects, as it bolsters tomorrow’s talent pipeline,” said Stanley.
“Stemettes is one of a number of great education programmes we support that also includes CoderDojo, and a partnership with St Peter’s School in Bray.”
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