STEM Equity monitor shows urgent need to support women in STEM Careers

21 September 2022

The 2022 edition of the Australian Government’s STEM Equity Monitor published today illustrates the dual importance of widening the pipeline of women studying and working in STEM, and  supporting them to progress and thrive throughout their STEM careers.

The data illustrates a positive upswing in the proportion of women studying and working in STEM, but the percentage of women in senior management and the continuing gender pay gap are reminders that systemic and cultural biases which inhibit diversity in STEM need to be addressed.

“The 2022 STEM Equity Monitor highlights the persistent leaky pipeline, where women are graduating from STEM studies at higher rates than before, but there is a major exodus as they pursue non-STEM occupations at higher rates than men,” said Kylie Walker, CEO of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).

“The Monitor also reveals that the gender pay gap – already higher in STEM than across the Australian economy – has tripled for those with postgraduate engineering qualifications. This is alarming in the context of a severe and growing engineering skills shortage. It is vital that Australia adds to, rather than loses from, its engineering workforce.”

“More diversity at all levels of STEM will significantly enhance Australia’s entire economy and is key to addressing the current skills shortages. It brings new approaches to some of our greatest challenges, from climate change to building a technology-empowered economy.”

“Women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people are interested in STEM careers but are underrepresented in the STEM workforce, and particularly at senior levels. Australia needs urgent and genuine reform to address systemic and cultural biases which inhibit diversity in STEM, and our full innovation potential,” said Kylie Walker.

ATSE is pleased to partner with the Department of Industry, Science and Resources to help shape a future-focused STEM workforce. The Academy’s Elevate: Boosting Women in STEM program will provide 500 undergraduate and post-graduate scholarships over seven years to women studying STEM disciplines. There has already been significant interest with more than 1000 applications to date for the first intake alone, signalling strong interest in STEM careers from Australian women.

Elevate aims to address gender inequities in STEM through supporting women to study and work in STEM, by fostering more women-led industry-academia collaborations in applied research and business, growing professional skills of women in STEM and by propelling women into leadership.