New data shows need for science and technology diversity

Australia needs a renewed effort to address the systematic barriers preventing greater diversity in our science and technology sectors, something made clear from the 2022 edition of the Australian Government’s STEM Equity Monitor

The data shows women as a proportion of those working in STEM-qualified jobs grew by two percent to 15 percent in 2021, while the number of women enrolling in university STEM courses increased by 24 percent in the five years to 2020.

The downside is that only 23 percent of senior management and eight percent of CEOs in STEM-qualified industries are women and, while, women still earn 18 percent less than men in STEM industries.

Industry minister Ed Husic said there was still much work to do to achieve equal opportunity for women in STEM, as well as other less advantaged groups.

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

“That is why the government has announced a review to determine how programmes can be reformed to support greater diversity.”

Husic said the STEM Equity Monitor underlined the importance of a renewed effort to break down structural barriers to meet the growing demand for workers in the tech and science sectors.

Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith said there was a need for greater action by industry, the community and governments to address the persistent barriers to participation in STEM education and careers.

“This is a collective obligation, and we need to be strategic in our actions to advance equity. This means investing in the proper tools and infrastructure required to drive cultural and structural change and to make organisations accountable.”

Picture: NCVER

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