Consultation begins on 10-year plan to boost women in STEM

Australian Academy of Science to develop roadmap to boost ranks of women in STEM careers

The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) has formally launched a public consultation to inform its efforts to develop a 10-year plan to boost the number of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The plan is part of the federal government’s push to increase the ranks of women with STEM careers.

This year’s federal budget included $4.5 million for initiatives encourage more women and girls to study and take up careers in STEM fields.

“The decadal plan will provide a roadmap for achieving sustained increases in women’s STEM participation and retention from early school years through to retirement over the next 10 years,” states a discussion paper released by the AAS.

“To support its uptake across all sectors, the plan will be developed through a broad process of consultation with individuals and organisations throughout Australia,” the paper states.

Women face barriers to participating in STEM fields both during education and once they enter the workforce, the paper notes.

Data from the Workplace Gender Equity Agency shows a gender pay gap of 18.5 per cent in the information media and telecommunications sector and a 22.3 per cent pay gap in the professional, scientific and technical services sector, as of May 2018.

“Facilitating women’s participation in STEM requires a cohesive, holistic and sustained approach,” the AAS paper states.

“Positive outcomes will not result from addressing a single factor alone, but rather from the interactions between factors at the individual, family, school and societal levels.”

The AAS is accepting submissions until 8 October.

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