26 September 2023

Data prove STEM needs more women

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The latest data on women’s and girls’ participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) show that more work is needed to address the systemic barriers that are preventing diversity in the sectors.

Updating its STEM Equity Monitor for 2022, the Department of Industry, Science and Resources said the Monitor reported the current state of STEM gender equity in Australia and also measured changes and trends.

“You can use it to explore girls’ and women’s pathways of participation in STEM through school, higher education, graduation and the workforce,” the Department said.

Commenting on the data figures, the Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic said they showed the proportion of women in STEM-qualified jobs grew by two percentage points to 15 per cent in 2021, while the number of women enrolling in university STEM courses increased by 24 per cent between 2015 and 2020.

“However, just 23 per cent of senior management and eight per cent of CEOs in STEM-qualified industries are women and, on average, women still earn 18 per cent less than men across all STEM industries,” Mr Husic said.

“We know that women remain chronically underrepresented when it comes to STEM and for First Nations people participation is much lower,” he said.

“Improving diversity in our STEM and technology sectors is not only the right thing to do but widening the pipeline of talent will also bring incredible benefits for our national wellbeing.”

The Department said new datasets and insights had been added to the Monitor this year, including an analysis of completion rates for undergraduates, how further study by university graduates impacted career outcomes, and youth attitudes and perceptions of studying and working in STEM.

It said the 2022 update also featured case studies sharing the real-life experiences of diverse women, girls and non-binary people in STEM.

The Department of Industry’s STEM Equity Monitor for 2022 can be accessed at this PS News link.

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