26 September 2023

Defence lifts 25% female target to 50%

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The Department of Defence has announced that to help secure a workforce that better represents the diverse talent of the Australian nation, it is to work towards implementing a 50-per cent target for women’s participation across key research and innovation career pathways.

Announced just a week ago (8 June), the goal is to apply to Defence’s Australian Public Service (APS) science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) entry level programs, including the STEM Cadetship Program and the Research and Innovation Pathway of the Defence Graduate Program.

It said the entry level programs that currently had a women’s participation rate of 25 per cent would double the participation rate and demonstrate a serious commitment to increasing the number of women working in STEM.

“Increasing diversity and representation in these key fields ensures that more people can benefit from skills and employment opportunities, and helps strengthen Defence’s capability,” it said.

“In addition to boosting women’s participation in entry level programs, Defence will also set a 50 per cent target for women’s participation for the successful pilot, the NAVIGATE program.”

It said the NAVIGATE program would bring experienced STEM professionals into Defence from industry and academia.

“This broadens the diversity of Defence’s APS workforce and while also providing participants with a unique experience and supporting them to thrive as STEM leaders.”

Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro said that by setting targets for women’s participation in the Department’s STEM entry programs it would draw more fully on the nation’s talent pool, allowing Defence science to deliver greater impact to the Australian Defence Force.

“Continuing to ensure the success of women requires strong leadership and a commitment to change, so I’m incredibly proud of these bold targets,” Professor Monro said.

Defence’s transformation agenda includes becoming an exemplar in attracting, training, retaining and providing career opportunities for women,” she said.

“These measures demonstrate in practical terms how we are taking steps to achieve this.”

Information about the Department programs can be found on this PS News link.

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