Divide between art and science is disappearing, InspireFest told

‘We need to challenge status quo’ when it comes to women working in Stem – Simon Harris

Minister for Health Simon Harris: ‘More and more women are pursuing qualifications in Stem,’ he said, ‘but this does not translate to them working in their area of expertise.’

Minister for Health Simon Harris: ‘More and more women are pursuing qualifications in Stem,’ he said, ‘but this does not translate to them working in their area of expertise.’

 

The divide between art and science is disappearing, the Minister for Health Simon Harris on Thursday told attendees of InspireFest, an annual Dublin event that marries technology, art and science.

Addressing a mostly female audience, Mr Harris emphasised the role of women in Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and said that the future was being invented by people like those at this event.

“More and more women are pursuing qualifications in Stem,” he said, “but this does not translate to them working in their area of expertise.” According to Mr Harris, for change in this area to happen, “we need to challenge the status quo”.

Campaign

Prof Louise Kenny, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at University College Cork, talked about the Repeal the 8th campaign during the recent abortion referendum and how a grassroots idea led by women brought about unimaginable change. “In the Trump era we couldn’t be sure what would happen,” she said, “but on the day we were delighted with the result.”

Later, Ian Harkin, chief executive and co-founder of Lottie Dolls, talked about his company’s mission which challenges ideas around the types of toys available to our children. He pointed out that the old model based around “toxic masculinity for males and pink dolls for girls” should soon become a thing of the past.

“When you go to a toy store the range available to boys is much of the time based around guns and violence” he said. “If we are to make a change to these kinds of ideas in society, we are going to need your help.”

InspireFest18 continues on Friday with keynote speakers including Dr Imelda Lambkin, national director of Horizon 2010 in Ireland, and Liza Donnelly, cartoonist with The New Yorker and CBS News.