The number of women enrolled in STEM degrees jumped by 24% between 2015 and 2020, bringing 17,000 more women into STEM study and lifting women’s share of STEM enrolments at universities from 34% to 37%, new data confirms.
But while the pipeline of women in STEM degrees has grown strongly, women remain vastly under-represented at the top levels of Australia’s STEM workforce – with just 23% of senior managers and 8% of CEO roles in STEM held by women – and a 18% gender pay gap remains.
The 2022 STEM Equity Monitor from the Department of Industry, Science & Resources reveals the pipeline of women coming into STEM study at universities has grown strongly since 2015.
Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer Misha Schubert said the latest snapshot highlighted the twin tasks of further widening the pipeline of women into STEM and supporting women to thrive and progress into leadership roles in the STEM workforce.
“After a decade of concerted effort to encourage more girls and young women to study STEM, we’re starting to see real progress now with many more women doing STEM degrees.”
“That’s hugely important to help transform who sees themselves pursuing a career in STEM, and in changing parental expectations that young women would choose science, maths, engineering and technology degrees.”
“The next urgent challenge is for deeper efforts to tackle the gender pay gap for women in STEM and to propel many more women into senior management and leadership roles in the STEM workforce. STEM employers have a powerful responsibility here.”
“We’ve seen some big strides in the participation of women in science and maths over the past decade – now we need to see that shift in engineering and technology.”
“These figures highlight that the array of Women in STEM initiatives over the past decade are starting to yield tangible progress.”
“Diversity in all its forms is crucial for excellence and equity in STEM – diverse teams deliver stronger innovation in breakthroughs and think about complex challenges from more angles.”
Science & Technology Australia is a champion of gender equity and diversity in STEM. We are proud to partner with the Australian Government to deliver the game-changing Superstars of STEM program to advance gender equity by creating diverse STEM role models in the media.
Meg Panozzo is an infrastructure advisory consultant with a background in engineering working for professional services firm RPS. She is part of Science & Technology Australia’s STA STEM Ambassador program, which pairs a STEM expert with their local Federal MP or Senator to provide ongoing STEM advice and insights. Ms Panozzo is STEM Ambassador to Independent Member for Wentworth, Allegra Spender.
“The STEM Equity Monitor data shows we need to focus on both attraction and retention. We need to think about the whole cycle of a career from early education all the way through to senior leadership. We can all play a part in supporting and empowering women to grow in their STEM careers, particularly into senior leadership positions,” she said.
“The stats confirm we need to keep pushing for change. But we need to talk about the positives as well – we need to showcase STEM in its whole breadth of possibility. STEM is an exciting way to make a difference, to creatively solve the world’s crises, and to satisfy our curiosity to be life-long learners.”
“This is how we can attract a diversity of people to take up STEM careers, and make the industry a place that fosters growth, innovation and career fulfillment. You can’t be what you can’t see.”
Media contact: Martyn Pearce, STA: 0432 606 828