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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)

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 in the Commission’s Advice and Compliance team
  • Tel: 028 90 500 681

Companies signed up to the STEM Charter

Companies signed up to the STEM Charter include:
Latest signee: Dr Terry McIvor, Chief Executive Officer of the Academy for International Science and Research (AISR) has recently signed up to the commitments of the STEM Charter for Business. The Equality Commission welcomes the commitment of the Academy to the promotion of equality of opportunity for women in STEM industry.

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 Frank Fleming on 02890 500681 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.

  • 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

Thales UK40th company signs up to Equality Commission STEM Charter

Thales UK is the 40th company to sign our STEM Charter and commit to encouraging more women to take up scientific and technical jobs in its workforce. Dr. Evelyn Collins CBE Chief Executive of the Equality Commission, said: “We look forward to working with Thales in the future through our STEM networks and to continue to promote examples of best practice that can be adopted by other employers, to create a more diverse STEM workforce throughout Northern Ireland.” Read the press release >

< Employers and service providers
Judith's story

Judith Bell - Yelo

Judith is an electronic engineer working in the research and development department at Yelo.  She uses OrCAD to simulate electronic circuits and analyse the results to help inform circuit design and modifications.

She said, "Becoming an engineer has encouraged my sense of curiosity and I am always driven to learn more. I have enjoyed being able to research the theory and to apply it in practice; in design, testing, repair and modification."

"There is such a diverse range of disciplines in engineering. I’d encourage anyone, regardless of gender, to get involved, especially creative folk, problem-solvers and those of us with a million and one questions about how the world works. It’s not all about maths or all about drawing. For any combination of strengths, there is a field of engineering which would work perfectly with these. Even if you’re not currently considering a career in engineering, I’d look into what fields and opportunities are available- chances are you’ll stumble across something that looks interesting."

"All engineering projects are the result of the efforts of people with completely different skill sets, so there’s a job for every combination of talents." Read more about Judith's story>

Lesley's story

Lesley Torbet - Thales UK

Lesley works for Thales UK in the Systems Design and Synthetic Environment Team as a Systems Engineer.

She said, “I have been extremely lucky on my STEM journey. At university I chose to study Aero-Mechanical Engineering as it combined my love of physics and maths along with the complexity of aircraft design and manufacture."

"Every day in Thales is different. The office environment is fast paced and varied and I enjoy the challenge to keep up with technological advances. I have had the exceptional opportunity to be involved in a project from concept, through to design, testing and manufacture. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing something you have been working on coming off the assembly line.” Lesley is working towards Chartered Engineer status with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers."  Read more about Lesley's story>

Lauren's story

Lauren Cross - Hyster-Yale

Lauren Cross is a Test and Development Engineer with Hyster-Yale and loves her job.

Technology has always been Lauren's favourite subject. She studied Technology, Physics and Maths for A level and also completed an AS Level in Politics. After leaving school she studied for a Masters degree in Product Design Engineering, in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queens University in Belfast. “The degree covered so many aspects of engineering from CAD, to Rapid Prototyping to Economics / Business Models to Legislation and Standards,” she said. “I don't think I could have chosen a better degree to set me up for my current job role”.

Lauren’s advice to those considering a STEM career is “Work hard and be curious! The best questions to ask usually start with “Show me how...?”  Read more about Lauren's story>


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