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Government assesses scientific and technical diversity programs to get more women into STEM

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Women are seen as an important part of the federal government’s target of 1.2 million jobs in the technology sector by 2030, with Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic announcing a review to increase female participation and diversity in science. and technology sectors.

Husic has ordered a review by his department of existing government programs to support diversity with a view to improving women’s and girls’ pathways into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Women remain chronically underrepresented in STEM, making up only 16% of people with STEM qualifications. Only half a percent of First Nations people have college-level STEM qualifications,” the minister said.

“Renewed efforts are needed to address this issue and meet the growing demand for workers in the engineering and scientific sectors.”

Husic said the decision to look at how to shift female participation stemmed from discussions held in the run-up to and during the Jobs and Skills Summit.

“We need to find new ways to call on and educate Australians from all corners of the community,” he said.

“Improving the diversity of our workforce in science, technology, engineering and math is not only the right thing to do, it will also be a huge boost to our national economy – $60 billion over the next 20 years.

“Breaking through a decade-long shortage of scientific and technical skills will be a tough job, but a necessary one.”

Programs such as Science & Technology Australia’s Superstars or STEM have helped raise the profiles of women in the sector and give others the chance to ‘see it this way’.

STA CEO Misha Schubert welcomed the review and said there is an urgent need to attract and retain more women, First Nations people, regional Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse people, people with disabilities and Australians from low socioeconomic backgrounds. for science and technology careers for the nation to prosper.

“Making big strides in tackling chronic gender inequality in sectors where that underrepresentation is most acute requires consistently strong leadership, large-scale long-term investment, strong buy-in and strong decision-making to drive cultural change,” she says. said.

“We are pleased that the review will also look at cultural and structural barriers that limit the participation and retention of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM professions.”

“Around the “future powered by scienceenvisioned by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, we must be able to draw on Australia’s full talent pool. Clear action to remove barriers to participation for women and underrepresented groups is key to that goal.”

The review will examine the implementation and impact of existing programs under the government’s Women in STEM program package, as well as government investment in science and innovation, with a view to increasing participant diversity. It will look at what is being done internationally and examine cultural and structural barriers that limit the participation and retention of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM professions.

It will make recommendations on measures to attract, promote and retain diverse groups in the STEM population.

Husic said the assessment will also play a role in reaching the 1.2 million tech-related jobs target

“Broadening the skills pipeline is a huge priority, providing better, more inclusive pathways for women, First Nations people, migrants, adult workers and people with disabilities,” he said.

“Ensuring that all Australians have the opportunity to develop STEM skills is essential to harness new technologies for national well-being. It will also help build stronger companies, secure jobs and raise wages.”

dr. Cathy Foley, Australia’s chief scientist, welcomed the review.

“We know that despite years of effort, women are still significantly underrepresented in STEM professions, and the problem goes all the way back to the high school years, when girls’ participation begins to decline,” she said.

“But it’s about more than just representation. Getting the institutions right for women and for other groups in our community is about equality. It will also enable us to fill the skills gaps in industries that will shape Australia over the next two decades, leveraging our full human potential.”

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