Microsoft opens doors for Dublin students to mark Girls in ICT Day
Event is aimed at encouraging more women to take up careers in STEM
Caoimhe Curtis (left) and Erin Rave from St Kevin’s Girls’ National School, Kilnamanagh marking Girls in ICT Day at Microsoft in Dublin. Photograph: Naoise Culhane
The technology giant hosted a special event in its DreamSpace educational hub to help inspire the students of St Kevin’s Girls’ National School, Kilnamanagh and Scoil Chaitríona, Coolock to inspire them about the opportunities through science, technology, engineering and maths.
The immersive digital skills experience involved sessions in MicroBit coding and 3D paint modelling, encouraging critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork skills. They also had the opportunity to meet women who have harnessed digital skills and turned them into success stories, including EU Digital Girl of the Year 2018 Aoibheann Mangan (12), who discussed the role of technology in leadership.
“Through STEM, I’ve gotten to do things I could never expect; my websites have won awards across Europe and I’ve gotten to travel and speak about the importance of digital skills, especially giving all girls the opportunity to discover their STEM talent,” she said. “For girls to succeed in technology, we need to level the playing field. As coding is not on the primary curriculum and not all secondary schools are able to offer the subject at Junior or Senior cycle, it’s important to have places like DreamSpace and companies like Microsoft investing in our futures, as it may be the only chance some students get to experience technology and spark a lifelong passion for STEM.”
Chief executive of My Shining Armour Nicki Hoyne also spoke at the event, sharing how technology supported her successful business. “ When I was growing up my current job didn’t exist,” she said. “Through the transformation of technology and belief in my creativity, I now run an international business that competes with long-established retailers.
The event is part of Microsoft’s efforts to help break the stereotypes surrounding STEM careers, and encourage young women to take up careers in the industry. Some 7 million new STEM jobs are due to come on stream in Europe by 2025.
“At Microsoft we want to inspire, excite and encourage Irish girls to achieve more through technology and become our next digital leaders. With women currently representing only 30 per cent of Europe’s ICT workforce, it’s important that all girls are able to see a path for themselves in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths so they can not only imagine tomorrow’s world but play an active role in building it,” said Cathriona Hallahan, managing director of Microsoft Ireland.
“With our research showing that 46 per cent of girls reporting an interest in STEM subjects when inspired by a female role model, we brought together some of Ireland’s most inspiring young female leaders to DreamSpace.”