Only one in four IT graduates and fewer than one in 10 engineering graduates are women. Women also occupy fewer than one in five senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes, and around one quarter of the STEM workforce overall.
We need a concerted, national effort to overcome the cultural, institutional and organisational factors that discourage girls and women from studying STEM, and that limit their opportunities to pursue STEM careers.
We can help address this challenge by encouraging greater gender equity in STEM organisations and STEM-based industries. We can also highlight the amazing stories of Australia’s successful female innovators and entrepreneurs, and inspire all Australians to engage with STEM.
The Australia Government is investing $13 million over five years, as part of its National Innovation and Science agenda, to encourage more women to choose and stay in STEM research, related careers, startups and entrepreneurial firms. They are supporting the expansion of the Science in Australia Gender Equity pilot to cover more Australian science and research institutions establishing a new initiative under the ‘Male Champions of Change’ project to focus on STEM-based and entrepreneurial industries partnering with the private sector on initiatives to celebrate female STEM role models and foster interest in STEM amongst girls and women.
This initiative will emphasise successful female role models in Australia’s STEM and innovation sectors, prompting more female participation in STEM study and careers.
When’s it happening?
We’ll begin implementing these initiatives in 2016-17.
Where do I find out more?
If you would like more information about this initiative, see more at the National Innovation and Science Agenda.