Submission to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources

Submission to the Diversity in STEM Review

Diversity and Inclusion


Submission to the Diversity in STEM Review

Published April 2023

PDF 204 kb

ATSE welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the review of Diversity in STEM. This submission argues issues of diversity in STEM can be addressed by identifying successes in existing programs, and then investing in and scaling up these programs. True diversity is inclusive of all underrepresented groups, including women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, LGBTIQA+ people, cultural and linguistically diverse people, disabled and neurodivergent people, and people from rural and remote Australia. Increasing diversity and inclusion in the workforce has consistently been called out as a critical enabler to improve workforce shortages and improve productivity (Turban, Wu, & Zhang, 2019). This review represents an opportunity to address the diversity and inclusion shortfall in Australia’s education system and workforce.

ATSE’s Women in STEM Decadal Plan (2019), developed together with the Australian Academy of Science, outlines a vision for achieving gender equity in STEM, which includes improving retention of women in STEM through their career progression. ATSE supports active support for and inclusion of diverse women and other underrepresented groups in the STEM sector through the Elevate: Boosting Women in STEM program and through the development of a Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit. Elevate addresses gender inequities in STEM by providing undergraduate, post-graduate and leadership scholarships for women in STEM, 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. The Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit, developed in response to the Women in STEM Decadal Plan, provides reference guides for STEM-focused businesses to embed principles and practices to support diversity and inclusion in their recruitment, retention, and reach. Additionally, ATSE is actively implementing measures to increase the diversity of our Fellowship, including special measures to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, and non-binary people in our Fellowship.

ATSE makes the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1: Develop a whole-of-sector strategy to consolidate and build upon efforts to enhance and support continuous improvement in diversity in STEM.

Recommendation 2: Use objective and documented evidence to assess existing programs and initiatives designed to advance diversity and inclusion in Australian STEM fields, to identify the most successful programs.

Recommendation 3: Invest in and scale up successful programs that:

  1. Support women and people with diverse backgrounds across the entire STEM education and career pipeline.
  2. Apply an intersectional lens to address a range of inequities and build diversity in STEM.
  3. Engage with mid-to-senior leaders of STEM sector organisations, including Directors, Vice Chancellors, CEOs and Board chairs, and support them to build a culture of support for diverse people to advance in STEM.