Women in Technology and Science

Women in STEM in Ireland by numbers

If you want to know if there is a still a problem with women in STEM being treated equally, it helps to look at the numbers. And the numbers tell us that we haven't yet achieved equality.

The gender gap in STEM in Ireland starts to open up after the Junior Cert where roughly equal numbers of boys and girls study Science but by the Leaving Cert, girls predominate in Biology and Chemistry but are underrepresented in Physics. At third level, women continue to dominate biological sciences but are underrepresented in physics, maths, engineering and technology. Many of the higher paid jobs in Ireland are in engineering and information and computer technology (ICT), so this contributes to the gender pay gap of 13.9% between women's and men's average gross hourly earnings.

  • 48 % of 2018 Junior Cert Science candidates were girls (CSO, 2019)
  • 9 girls sat Leaving Cert Biology for every 1 who sat Physics in 2018 (CSO, 2019)
  • 2 % of apprentices completing training in October 2018 were women (Solas 2018)
  • 58 % of tertiary level 5-8 graduates in biological and related sciences in 2017 were women but only 36% in mathematics and statistics (Eurostat, 2017)
  • 13 % of 2018 engineering graduates are women (Engineers Ireland, 2019)
  • 21 % of ICT specialists in 2017 are women, it was 30 % in 2004 (EIGE, 2019)
  • 12 % of engineering professionals are women (Engineers Ireland, 2018)
  • 25 % of those working in Ireland’s STEM industries are women (Daly, Farrell, Grimson & Smeaton, 2018, p. 2)
  • 19 % of full professors and 17 % of CEOs (Daly et al., p.2)
  • 13.9 % lower average hourly pay for women vs men in Ireland in 2014 (Eurostat, 2019)

Central Statistics Office (2019) Statbank Educational Attainment

Solas. (2018) Review of Pathways to Participation in Apprenticeship

Engineers Ireland. (2019). Engineering 2019 A Barometer of the Profession in Ireland. Dublin: Engineers Ireland.

Eurostat. (2017) Graduates by education level, programme orientation, sex and field of education

European Institute of Gender Equality. (2019). ICT Specialists by Sex 2017.

Engineers Ireland. (2018). Engineering 2018 A Barometer of the Profession in Ireland. Dublin: Engineers Ireland.

Daly, E., Farrell, G., Grimson, J. and Smeaton, A. (eds). (2018). Fixing the leaky pipeline and retaining our talent. A summary report on a one-day event held at the Royal Irish Academy on 26 September 2017. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy and Engineers Ireland.

Eurostat, (2019) Gender pay gap statistics