Technology, engineering and science professions have a serious problem with gender balance and workplace culture.
Australian women obtained more than 60 per cent of undergraduate degrees in 2013. However, fewer than 10 per cent of those employed in this country as engineers are women.
Worldwide, women accounted for less than a third of those employed in scientific R&D in 2014. In Australia, the science and technology picture for women is no better.
The exclusion or marginalisation of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) damages the careers or even the lives of the women involved. It also results in an avoidable loss of expertise, talent and investment.
The Academy is taking part in two programs that aim to change this.
Science in Australia Gender Equity
Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) is a partnership between the Academy and the Australian Academy of Science.
This national initiative aims to improve participation, retention and success of women, gender minorities and diverse groups working in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) in the higher education and research sector in Australia.
Building on the success of the Athena SWAN Charter from the UK, SAGE is adapting the Charter’s accreditation framework for Australia – the resulting model will be sustainable and adaptable and able to identify and address gender inequality in this key sector.
Women in STEM Decadal Plan
Australia’s future workforce will need skills and knowledge to equip them for the technology-driven careers that are emerging or yet to be developed. To ensure Australia remains innovative and globally competitive, we need to continue to support and develop our STEM capabilities.
That’s why the Australian Government asked the Academy and the Australian Academy of Science to develop a Women in STEM Decadal Plan – to provide a 10-year roadmap for achieving sustained increases in women’s STEM participation.
The plan identified the barriers and enablers that affect women’s participation, retention and success in all areas of the STEM sector, at every level of education, to all levels and stages of careers in academia, government, industry and private enterprise.
It was launched in Canberra on 1 April by Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.