Women Invent Tomorrow 2014: celebrating women in STEM
Most of Silicon Republic's 100 Top Women in STEM were able to attend a reception at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin on 30 June. Photo by Conor McCabe Photography

Women Invent Tomorrow 2014: celebrating women in STEM

30 Dec 2014

Celebrating women in STEM underlined Silicon Republic’s Women Invent Tomorrow campaign this past year, and it’s not over yet: more is in store for the year ahead with our Inspire 2015 event.

In March, Silicon Republic CEO and editor-at-large Ann O’Dea kicked off the second year of Women Invent Tomorrow at Accenture Ireland’s annual International Women’s Day (IWD) event at the RDS in Dublin.

Again, the aim of the campaign has been to highlight the role women play in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and to inspire more women to follow in their footsteps.

Women Invent Tomorrow continues to champion role of women in STEM

Silicon Republic CEO and editor-at-large Ann O’Dea launches the second year of the Women Invent Tomorrow campaign

Top 100 women in STEM

Shortly after the launch of year 2 of Women Invent Tomorrow, the Women Invent: 100 top women in science, technology, engineering and maths – Part 1 and Women Invent: 100 top women in science, technology, engineering and maths – Part 2 lists were published, paying tribute to some of the leading women in the subjects.

Then on 30 June, we gathered those honorees together at an evening reception at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin following the Female Founders Forum. Ciaran Cannon, TD, Minister for Training and Skills, opened the reception, which included special addresses from Bethany Mayer of HP, founder of the Women’s Innovation Council in the US, and Cork teenager and advocate Joanne O’Riordan, who featured in the No Limbs No Limits documentary, as well as Travis Carpico, president of Fidelity Investments Ireland, sponsor of the special evening.

Silicon Republic also presented a number of special recognition awards to people whom we deemed to be positive role models for women in the STEM sectors during 2014 and beyond. Recipients ranged in age from 16 to 70+, and included women – and one man, a diversity champion – from across Ireland and further afield.

The Female Founders Forum

The Female Founders Forum, also held on 30 June, heard from Eventbrite president and co-founder Julia Hartz, who spoke about the importance of identifying the right co-founding team and how crystallising the vision of your product is critical to its success; Anne Ravanona, founder and CEO of Global Invest Her, who talked about gender bias in venture-capital financing; and Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon, who told the audience Ireland is not maximising the value of its female entrepreneurs and too few are seeking the State supports available.

Two panel discussions at the event looked at rebalancing a male-dominated high-potential start-up sector and designing a culture of diversity in high-growth enterprises; and addressed why venture capitalists aren’t seeing more female founders approach them and whether investors need to embrace diversity on their own teams.

Julia Hartz, Eventbrite president and co-founder (left); Ann O’Dea, Silicon Republic CEO and editor-at-large (centre); and Anne Ravanona, founder and CEO of Global Invest Her at the Female Founders Forum in Dublin on 30 June. Photo by Conor McCabe Photography

The Women Invent Meet-up

The Female Founders Forum and evening reception proved to be so popular that we hosted a follow-up event on 4 November, the Women Invent Meet-up.

On this evening, which BT Ireland CEO Colm O’Neill officially opened, Sharon Vosmek, CEO of Astia, spoke to attendees about how firms need women because innovation needs women. Hartz returned to talk about how women need to be more visible role models; An Cosán’s education programme co-ordinator Sinead Kelly shared her personal journey and her recent coaching as a trainer for #techmums; and O’Dea caught up with Google Science Fair winners and former BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition winners Ciara Judge, Sophie Healy-Thow and Émer Hickey. Vosmek also sat down with O’Dea for a Q&A.

Back (left to right): Sinead Kelly, Ann O’Dea and Liz Waters. Front (left to right): Sophie Healy-Thow, Julia Hartz, Ciara Judge and Émer Hickey at the Women Invent Meet-up in Dublin on 4 November. Photo by Conor McCabe Photography

Inspire 2015 – an exciting new departure

And there’s lots more where that came from. Our campaign will continue on into 2015 and beyond, and at its heart will be Inspire 2015 – a two-day international event that connects sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on innovation, leadership and success.

“We are bringing together inspirational women leaders in their fields, as well as advocates (male and female) of meaningful diversity in our sector of STEM to inspire our delegates as well as to create meaningful and constructive international connections,” said O’Dea, who is also the driver behind this new event. “We’re expecting some 2,000 people to gather in June from all over the world in what will be a landmark conference for all those who care about diversity in STEM.”

This major international event will also have a surrounding fringe festival that celebrates the convergence between science, technology, design and the arts.

There are lots more remarkable speakers to be added, and tickets will go on sale in January 2015. In the meantime, you can take a sneak peak at what is in store at the Inspire 2015 event website.

Women Invent Tomorrow 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 Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.

Tina Costanza
By Tina Costanza

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic. She came to Ireland from Canada, where she had held senior editorial positions at daily newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto. When she wasn’t saving dangling participles, she was training for 10K races or satisfying a craving for scones.

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