WITSWORDS April 2016
April 2016

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WITS Update

Welcome to WITSWORDS April 2016. 

WITS update
WITS launched its Galway group on Wednesday 27 April. WITS Vice-Chair Mary Carroll introduced WITS and then led her great Unconscious Bias workshop. Thanks to Sandra Riordan WITS member for organising the event with Mary and to Mary Carty Executive Director of NUIG Launchpad for hosting it. All three are in the above photograph. There was a great turnout, thanks to all our Galway WITS members.

The Dublin WITS talk by Dr Sarah Bourke of Skytek was held on 6 April at the NDRC, thanks to Helen Fuller WITS member. Sarah's talk was most interesting, how she developed her career and company in working with both the European Space Agency and NASA and the challenges and benefits of being an entrepreneur for a working woman with children. Thanks to all the WITS members who attended and took part in the great discussion.

WITS was at:
  • 13 April USI AfterGrad2016 at The Printworks Dublin Castle. Marion Palmer WITS Chair was part of the Women in STEM panel with Fidelma Callanan, Head of Marketing for Innopharma Labs, and Molly Kenny Education Officer TCD SU and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering student. Marcus O’Laoire was in the chair.
  • 19 April Intercom Dublin office discussion on tackling the gender gap in technology.
  • 22 April Ericsson Ireland CWIT Breakfast Networking event Technology for Good at The Printworks Dublin Castle.

WITS policy subcommittee update
The WITS policy sub-committee is working to develop the WITS Election Manifesto as a WITS Policy Action Plan. The opinion piece WITS was invited to submit to the HEA Gender Review of Higher Education is now on the WITS website here.


Dates for your diary - WITS events May 2016

Rationale for Gender Initiatives in Research Funding Tuesday 3 May 6.30 pm.
You are invited to an event for WITS members and friends on the topic of "Rationale for Gender Initiatives in Research Funding" by Fiona Blighe, Science Foundation Ireland.
Tues May 3rd 6.30pm
Venue: The Spencer Hotel, Dublin
For more information about the talk and to book your place click here.

WITS Sligo Group Launch 11 May 6.30 pm 
Please join us for the launch of the Sligo group of WITS at The Glasshouse Hotel at 6.30 pm on Wednesday 11 May. There will be an introduction to WITS and then an unconscious bias workshop. For more information and to book a place click here.


Forthcoming events
16 May 2016 Dr Eileen Trauth  will be speaking at NUI Galway in the MBA Room at the J.E. Cairnes Business School on  'Conducting and Publishing Cutting Edge Information Systems Research: Issues and Insights from Research on Gender and IS '. Come along if you are in Galway and interested in this cutting edge research.   

Festival of Curiosity
The Festival of Curiosity runs from July 21-24, 2016 in Dublin. Click on the link to find out more.

Tech Excellence Award Shortlist
The Tech Excellence Awards shortlist has just been announced and congratulations to Yvonne Goff, CCIO, eHealthIreland, Gemma Garvan, access information lead, Healthlink  and Mary Finegan, VP programme management, Movidius, three of the five nominees shortlisted for IT Professional of the Year. We wish you all the best for the awards on 12 May.

Teen Turn Turning Teens Towards Tech
Teen Turn is a new initiative to give girls the opportunity to spend two weeks in the summer on a technology work placement. It's looking for companies to host placements with female mentors. Best wishes to this great initiative. For more information click on the the link.

Expect Everything
Expect Everything is a new website for girls to explore STEM. Do have a look. It has been developed by an Irish design company.

Women and Science Interactive Tool
Did you know that just 28% of the world's researchers are women? Explore this Interactive tool from UNESCO and you'll see that in Ireland women are 53% of students at undergraduate level and 50% at doctoral but just 32% of researchers.

Tech Week 2016
As Tech Week comes to an end on 30 April, let's explore some of the great resources about technology and computing and STEM careers. You might like to explore Who Works in STEM that shows all the female career stories on There are some great videos linking school subjects and working in technology here and here. There are interviews with female software engineers and women leaders in tech. Thanks to Donna McCabe in Smart Futures for the links and congratulations to Smart Futures and the Irish Computer Society for Tech Week 2016.

Women in STEM stories from the web.
  • An interview with Mayumi Hiramatsu, Vice President, Product Operations, Cisco Systems at part of the Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference 2016 is here.
  • The lack of role models in tech is considered by Nathalie Christmann-Cooper in the Guardian here.
  • The persistent image and stereotypes of scientists is considered by Juliana Adelmann in the Irish Times here.

Gender News

CWIT Ericsson Breakfast Networking Event Technology for Good 22 April
Thanks to Zelia Madigan Ericsson Ireland Managing Director for great career advice for us all. She says:
1)            It’s who knows what you know
2)            Take Risks – “If you don’t try it you will never know”
3)            Know yourself so you can perform to your best
4)            Dare to Imagine &, believe in yourself
5)            You are the CEO of your own career!!  - Only you can make it happen!
This great advice was complemented by Emer Coleman's (Chair of the Open Data Governance Board Ireland) advice for women in STEM  - be visible, we all have a responsibility to be role models. Thanks ot CWIT and Ericsson for a great event that focused on technology and its use for good particularly in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For more information see @CWITIreland and #tech4 good.

Inspirefest2016 update
Inspirefest2016 was formally launched at Silicon Docks during the week. Explore the website to see who it is for and seven reasons why you should go. WITS had a great panel at the Inspirefest fringe last year.

NUIG Gender Equality Taskforce Recommendations
The NUIG Gender Equality Task has recommended mandatory gender quotas for academic posts in its report due to be published in May 2016. We look forward to the final report of the Task Force led by WITS member Prof Jane Grimson.


GenPORT is a newly launched EU portal for quality resources in gender and science in science. Worth exploring.

50 influential women in engineering campaign
Congratulations to the Women in Engineering Society in launching the 50 influential women in engineering campaign in the UK. Nominations are open and we look forward to the results on UK National Women in Engineering Day 23 June 2016. IS it time for Engineers Ireland to have a similar campaign in Ireland?

Female inventors who powered the information age
Great list with both the usual names  such as Hedy Lamarr, Ada Lovelace and some new names such as Annie Easley and Ida Henrietta Hyde to celebrate women and their contribution to STEM. Women still have their work cut out for them in STEM as Hope Jahren's biography
Lab girl: one woman’s fight to overcome sexism and save the world, makes clear. We're looking forward to reading it.

Women in STEM research and other research of interest
  • The Wiley Women in STEM fields research link has is a mix of journal articles and special collections about women in a range of fields from engineering to medicine.
  • International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, the new issue is here.
  • The British Psychological Society Digest explores the difference between girls and boys in maths.

Dates for your diary
  • 4 May Women on Air on women and media coverage in the election. Book here.
  • 24-26 June 25th Annual Conference of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE)  will be held at NUI Galway. This year’s Conference theme is ‘Transitions and Transformations in Gender Equality'.
  • 6-9 March 2017 7th World Congress on Women’s Mental Health 2017 takes place in Dublin. Find out more here.

Membership 2016

Thanks to all our 2016 members for renewing your WITS membership or for joining WITS. Your membership fee supports WITS activities and our free student affiliate membership. Renew your WITS membership today to continue to support WITS, receive the newsletter and information about WITS activities and events. 

Members' News

Lero and Chloe the Computer Scientist
This year, Lero the Irish Software Research Centre in UL were delighted to sponsor a Transition Year group who were starting their own business.  The girls, whose team were called Dreamers Believers, were writing a book aimed at primary school girls - ‘Chloe, the Computer Scientist’.    Beautifully illustrated by Nicole Scanlan, one of their classmates, the story is about a girl who wants to a computer scientist, but all her friends laugh at her.  Her mom, wisely, tells her that ‘you can be whatever you want to be’.   And, of course, Chloe goes on to follow her dream.   The book is for sale in the bookshop in Charleville, Co Cork or by e-mailing
Prof Ita Richardson visited the school to meet Dreamers Believers and their teacher, Ann Doherty
Picture (left to right):  Prof Ita Richardson, Caroline O'Flynn, Elizabeth Moloney, Ann Doherty (Transition Year Co-Ordinator), Grace Murphy, Nicole Scanlon, Gráinne Boles, Kate Reidy and Rachel O'Connor. Missing from the photo is Una O'Connor. Thanks to Ita Richardson.

Niamh Shaw TED Talk
Congratulations to WITS member Niamh Shaw on her great TEDxUCD TED talk. Let's start successfully failing is a great talk on success and failure, not being afraid and the importance of play. Niamh argues that we all should relax, have fun and see what happens. We'll succeed through magnificent failures.

We welcome news and profiles from members. If you have events, initiatives or just something you think of interest to WITS members please email WITS before 25 May 2016 and we'll include it in the next newsletter.
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