Minister for Science Simon Harris TD has today (February 11th) marked International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This year, the theme this year is  ‘Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19’.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: "Right across our Higher Education sector researchers have played an important and significant role in our national and international response to COVID-19. Today as we celebrate the role of women scientist I want to acknowledge the ongoing support from researchers in our Higher Education Institutions across the country who are undertaking a vast array of actions to deal with the challenges we have faced due to COVID-19, these include key research expertise to Government, testing potential treatments, staff for testing, modelling, public surveys, and much more." 

"We have exceptionally talented women researchers, who have contributed so much to this national effort – today we can shine a light on them and thank them for their efforts."

Minister Harris confirmed Government is committed to increasing the participation of women and girls in science and technology.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has been developing initiatives to remove and mitigate any existing or perceived factors that may limit the participation of women in STEM careers. SFI has been implementing gender initiatives across their funding programmes since 2011 to support a stronger representation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Ireland has been steadily moving up internationally in the last ten years with regard to female researchers in the Higher Education sector, ranking 8th out of 31 OECD countries in 2018 with 47% of all researchers in the HE sector in Ireland being female.

Minister Harris added: “Covid-19 has taught us the value and importance of science and I have no doubt it will inspire a new generation of female leadership in science, research and innovation.”