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Insight's Antonella Ferrecchia leads UCD's Women@STEM network

UCD Women@STEM network kicks off new phase with successful diversity event

A network to support women in the sciences in UCD was boosted this month with a rebrand and a successful gathering that featured a lively panel discussion and an address from the Japanese Ambassador, Mrs Mari Miyoshi,  on the subject of female representation in political life.

The Diversity in Stem event, organised by Insight members Antonella Ferrecchia dnd Sharon Shannon, was held at Moore Hall in the O’Brien Science building on Monday November 12. It attracted over 200 people and included a fascinating exploration of the life of Tsuda Umeko, a pioneering advocate for women’s education in Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from the president of Tsudo University, Professor Yuko Takahashi.

The event also featured a panel discussion on promoting women in higher education and research, with contributions from Assistant Professor Fiona McGillicuddy, Professor Gerardine Meany, Assistant Professor Saoirse Tracy and Director Triona McCormack. Each panellist  brought a unique perspective to the conversation, ranging from Fiona McGillicuddy’s experience of taking maternity leave while spearheading a major Wellcome Trust research endowment, to Gerardine Meany’s illustrious career researching and writing about the representation of women in Irish public life.

From her leadership position on the UCD research strategy development team, Triona McCormack threw light on the requirement for a wide-ranging  and nuanced approach to achieve real and lasting diversity across the university. Saoirse Tracy brought to the table insights from her current activities working to gain Athena Swann certification for the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science.

The debate, hosted by former Irish Times journalist and co-director of FH Media Consulting Ltd Louise Holden, surfaced some of the challenges and opportunities facing Irish higher education when it comes to addressing gender imbalances at professorial and funding level.

The Women@STEM network is now in full swing – over the coming months expect to see lots of activity as the group ramps up its efforts to build the network,  promote for successful diversity initiatives in UCD STEM and to support members through mentoring and advocacy. For more information or to get involved contact Antonella Ferrecchia.