The studies, which included feedback from approximately 3,000 Irish students, parents and teachers, are aimed at attracting more girls and young women into studying, and pursuing careers in, STEM disciplines.
Almost two thirds of girls (65%) say their parents are most likely to influence subject choices at school, and half said their parents influence their career aspirations.
Despite their high level of influence, only one in four (24%) parents feel “very informed” about the variety of STEM career opportunities and a significant 54% said they have no experience of modern STEM careers to pass onto their children.
More than half of parents (52%) admit to having personally made subconscious stereotypes about girls and boys when it comes to STEM subjects and more than half of teachers (53%) have witnessed girls drop STEM subjects in school due to pressure from parents.
Alarmingly, 29% of parents and teachers still perceive STEM disciplines as more closely fitting boys’ brains, personalities, and hobbies.
One in four girls feel there are no financial rewards for a career in STEM.
Almost a quarter of teachers feel that the gender divergence in perceptions of STEM begins between the ages of 7 and 11, with one in 10 teachers believing the gender gap begins to appear before primary school.
When it comes to choosing what to study, 94% of female students are hugely influenced by how subjects are taught, but one third of teachers said they did not know enough about STEM and STEM courses and careers.
Among girls’ schools who attended three or more STEM events, 30% chose two STEM subjects to Leaving Cert, compared to 20% who attended two or less.
82% of the girls surveyed indicated they want a career where they can help other people, yet they cannot clearly see how STEM could facilitate that.
Practically all teachers, 94%, recognise the opportunities for STEM careers and 74% want more support, through training and access to STEM role models and industry.