The 2022 edition of the Australian Government’s STEM Equity Monitor shows why a renewed effort is needed to address the systematic barriers preventing greater diversity in our science and technology sectors.
The new data published today shows women as a proportion of all people working in STEM-qualified jobs grew by 2 percentage points to 15% in 2021, while the number of women enrolling in university STEM courses increased by 24% between 2015 and 2020.
However, just 23% of senior management and 8% of CEOs in STEM-qualified industries are women and, on average, women still earn 18% less than men across all STEM industries.
Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic said there is still much work to do to achieve equal opportunity for women to learn, work and engage in STEM, as well create more pathways for First Nations people, migrants, mature workers and those living with disability.
“We know that women remain chronically underrepresented when it comes to STEM and for First Nations people participation is much lower. That is why the Government has announced a review to determine how programs can be reformed to support greater diversity,” Minister Husic said.
“The data in the STEM Equity Monitor adds vital information in telling the story of where we are now. They underline the importance of why a renewed effort is needed to break down structural barriers to meet the growing demand for workers in the tech and science sectors.
“Improving diversity in our STEM and technology sectors is not only the right thing to do but widening the pipeline of talent will also bring incredible benefits for our national wellbeing.”
Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador, reiterated the need for more to be done to improve equity in STEM.
“The latest STEM Equity Monitor reveals the need for greater action by industry, the community and governments to address the persistent barriers to participation in STEM education and careers.
“This is a collective obligation, and we need to be strategic in our actions to advance equity. This means investing in the proper tools and infrastructure required to drive cultural and structural change and to make organisations accountable,” Professor Harvey-Smith said.
New data will be published every year for 10 years from 2020 to provide a consistent evidence base.
The 2022 STEM Equity Monitor report and interactive data sets are available at www.industry.gov.au/stemequitymonitor.
The review announced following the Jobs and Skills Summit is examining the delivery and impact of existing programs under the Government’s Women in STEM program suite, as well as cultural and structural barriers that limit participation and retention of women and other under-represented groups in STEM.