Media release

Academy welcomes investment in STEM gender equity

March 30 2019

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to invest $3.4 million in STEM gender equity, announced today by Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.

Academy Vice-President Diversity, Dr Bruce Godfrey FTSE, said an important component was the $1.8 million to extend Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), a joint initiative of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and the Australian Academy of Science.

The funding support will enable SAGE to expand its work in supporting the higher education and research sector to bring about a step change for gender equity in STEM.

“The announcement of building national digital awareness is also welcome as the rate of adoption of automation based on big data, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence, across all Australian industry sectors, is escalating,” Dr Godfrey said.

“Automation in its broadest application across industry will see the demand for STEM-skilled employees continue to rise rapidly.

“This means that virtually every organisation in Australia will find itself relying on STEM skills, whether it be industry, government or higher education and research institutions.

“This problem cannot be fixed without addressing the significant under-representation of women in our STEM-skilled workforce, particularly at senior operational and leadership levels.

“Today’s announcement is a welcome acknowledgement that we need to build a gender-balanced workforce underpinned by an inclusive workplace culture that values diversity.”

Dr Godfrey said the Academy regarded today’s announcement as an important step in a process that needed input from government, industry and higher education and research sectors.

“We all have a role to play in achieving this,” he said. “Failure to do so will see Australia significantly disadvantaged in the new technology revolution.”

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering is a Learned Academy operating as an independent, non-political and expert think tank that helps Australians understand and use technology to solve complex problems.

For interviews or more information, contact the Academy’s Senior Communications Manager, Dr David Glanz, on 0438 547 723 or by emailing david.glanz@atse.org.au.