In Ireland there are significant gender imbalances in STEM (science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics) subject choices made by male and female students
at the post-primary level. Data on STEM subject enrolments indicate that the take up
of the physical sciences and technology subjects is lower amongst girls, and the
availability of these subjects is also more limited in all-female schools. It is critical to
encourage greater participation of girls in these subject areas in order to address
national skills needs and respond to the actions required in the STEM Education
Policy Statement 2017-2026 (Department of Education and Skills, 2017).
The aim of this systematic literature review is to identify effective interventions that
address key barriers and build critical assets and skills that females need to learn,
apply, and thrive in the STEM subject areas. The review was conducted in two
stages. Stage I investigated barriers that females experience in participating in
STEM subject areas and careers. Stage II identified effective interventions that
address specific barriers, including measures of effectiveness of such interventions
as well as evidence, where available, of their longer-term impact.