Charter signatories pledge to hire more women in our Stem sector
Some of Northern Ireland's leading employers in the science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) sectors have pledged to hire more women in their organisations after signing a new charter.
More than 20 firms, including NIE, Bombardier, Schrader Electronics, Magellan Aerospace and Michelin, have signed the document, which was launched last week by the Department for Employment and Learning and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, and more firms are clamouring to add their names every day.
Evelyn Collins, chief executive of the Equality Commission, said that in high-level Stem posts, men outnumber women by more than three to one. She said: "The current under-representation of women in scientific and technical jobs is not simply a gender equality issue; it is a broader economic issue that has huge consequences for our future prosperity and growth.
"One possible solution is to target those girls and women who are not presently considering Stem careers."
Gordon Parkes from NIE said under-representation of women was a cultural problem as well as a company problem.
"Parents and other influencers needed to recognise Stem careers as an attractive option," he said.
Lisa O'Neill, a graduate engineer with NIE, said there was a widespread perception that engineering was not a suitable career for women.