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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.


Making equality work for women in STEM
(science, technology, engineering & maths)

STEM industtries

What you need to know

Case studies


Improving the Gender balance in STEMSTEM charter

The Equality Commission is working with the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) and the STEM Business Group to address gender imbalance in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) businesses in Northern Ireland.

The ratio of male to females employed in STEM-related industries is 3 to1.   This is not only a gender equality issue but a broader economic issue which impacts on business growth and development.

A report by the STEM Business Group, “Addressing Gender Balance – Reaping the Gender Dividend in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” (pdf, 1.1mb), highlights how attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce can maximize innovation, creativity and competitiveness in the STEM market.

The report also contains good practice guidelines for addressing the gender gap in STEM and has useful case studies of local companies who are already taking action to improve gender diversity in their organisation.

Reap the rewards with success through STEM:

Sign up to the STEM Charter

If you are a STEM business (employer or training provider) or offer STEM jobs and would like to demonstrate your commitment to gender equality, you can:

If you would like to know more contact Frank Fleming or Donna Heaney in the Commission’s Advice and Compliance team

  • Tel: 028 90 500 600


Companies signed up to the STEM Charter

The STEM Charter was launched on 4 June and already 38 companies have signed up:

Alexander Mann Solutions
Allstate NI
Belfast Met College
Bombardier Aerospace
CITB Construction Skills NI
Craigavon Ind. Development Organisation
Diamond Recruitment
Engineering Training Council (NI)
 Heron Bros Ltd
- read more
 Letterkenny Inst. of Technology
 Liberty IT
 Magellan Aerospace Ltd
 McAvoy Corry Ltd
 Michelin Tyre PLC
 Moy Park
 Northern Regional College
 Open University
 Queen's University Belfast 
 Schrader Electronics
  School Employer Connections
  STEM Aware
 Synergy Learning
  Terex GB Ltd
  Ulster Bank
  University of Ulster
  Women's Resource & Dev Agency


Join the STEM Employers Equality Network

Following the successful launch of the STEM Charter, the Commission convened a STEM Employers Equality Network. The aim of the network is to bring employers together to discuss common employment issues, share good practice in respect of the recruitment and retention of females in their workforce and identify challenges to the promotion of equality of opportunity for women in STEM industries.

Participation in Networks can help you gain knowledge on specific initiatives to improve equality practice within the workplace and realise positive outcomes for employees. The Network events are open to new and existing members - we hope that you can participate and help to inform our work to promote gender equality and diversity in STEM industries in NI.

Join up now
If you are interested in joining the network contact Donna Heaney on 02890 500558 or email We look forward to meeting you and working together to promote gender balance in the Northern Ireland STEM workforce.


  • Belfast network

The first meetings of the STEM Employers Equality Network were held in Belfast in September 2014 and February 2015. This was followed by an event June with guest speakers from the Ulster Bank and Women in Business discussing internal and external networks. A further STEM Network meeting was held in September 2015 at Malone House, Belfast, where Joe McCarron from the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion gave a presentation on Unconscious Bias and a conference on addressing the gender gap in STEM industries was held in November 2015.

  • North West network

The first North West STEM Employers Equality Network was held in April 2015 in the City Hotel, Derry. The event was very well attended with 32 participants contributing to the discussion. Maria McGilloway, Strategic Policy and Legal Manager, University of Ulster gave a talk to the group on the University’s Athena Swan Initiative. Four organisations signed up to the STEM Charter at the event. Another meeting was held in October 2015 in the White Horse Hotel, L/Derry and further STEM Network meetings are scheduled. (see below)

  • Southern Area network - New!

A new Southern Area STEM Employers Equality Network has been established and held it's first meeting on Thursday 13 October 2016, at Interface Europe Ltd, Craigavon. We would encourage STEM employers in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon areas to join up and attend our next event.


Video: see how promoting gender equality has benefitted a business

Sharon Martin, IT Service Delivery Manager at Terex, explains how promoting gender equality has benefited their business. The video also looks at how STEM companies can promote gender equality and how the Equality Commission can help with this process.

Read more about Sharon and Terex
Sharon's story
IT Service Delivery Manager
Wendy's story
Health & Safety Advisor
Olivia's story
Assistant Environmental Chemist
Sharon's story

Sharon Martin - Terex

Sharon is responsible for the delivery of IT Services for 15 Terex Materials Processing sites worldwide.  She manages a team of eight, five in Europe and three in US covering everything from hardware, software, phones, servers and networks and is also responsible for a multi-million dollar budget.

Previously Sharon worked primarily in applications – ranging from implementing very large computer systems to allow business efficiencies right through to Project Management, Business Analysis and Testing Team Lead. Read more>

Wendy's story

Wendy Armstrong - Henry Group

Wendy joined the Henry Group in 2013 as a Health & Safety Advisor. Her journey into the construction industry began following a work placement in 2001 with Fisher Engineering. Following this work placement she decided to change her career path from teaching to civil engineering and transferred from her A levels to completing a BTEC Diploma in Construction. She then attended the University of Ulster, Jordanstown and graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Civil Engineering.

Wendy has found her experience in the construction industry rewarding. Every project is different and brings new experiences and challenges. She has thoroughly enjoyed all the projects she has been involved in and the camaraderie that is developed when working as part of a site team. Read more>

Olivia's story

Olivia Byrne - Bombardier Aerospace

Olivia wanted to study for a degree which would open doors to a range of jobs, rather than narrow her choices. This led to her studying Chemical Engineering at Queen's University and completing an MPhil research degree.

After graduating, Olivia worked for a local quarrying company before joining Bombardier Aerospace as a Materials and Process Engineer in the Chemical and Environmental Technologies group. She said "It’s also great to know that we’re making the aerospace industry as a whole safer for people and the environment. "An aircraft can have a lifespan of 40 years so my work today will be keeping people safe as far away as the 2050s!

Olivia has found her experience in engineering interesting and rewarding. She said, "Your professional skills and enthusiasm for your job are what matters to anyone you deal with, not your gender.  If you want to study something where you will be in demand worldwide, get to be hands-on with exciting equipment and processes, and continually learn and develop, then engineering could be a great fit." Read more>


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