Women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is increasing, both in the workforce and universities, according to the 2021 edition of the Australian Government’s STEM Equity Monitor.
The new data shows an increase in women working in STEM-qualified industries, with women now comprising 28 per cent of workers – up from 24 per cent in 2016.
Similarly, the proportion of women studying STEM reached the highest proportion since at least 2015, with women making up 36 per cent of Australian university STEM enrolments in 2019.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said while the signs were encouraging, the data shows there was clearly still significant work to be done.
“Australian industry and innovation rely on a flourishing STEM workforce, which is why the Australian Government is committed to further increasing women’s participation and creating more opportunities to thrive in the sector,” Minister Porter said.
“To date the Australian Government has committed more than $100 million in funding to increasing women’s participation in STEM and entrepreneurship, through activities such as the Women in STEM Ambassador initiative, the Girls in STEM Toolkit, and the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship grants.
“The STEM Equity Monitor allows us to measure and understand the impact of our investments, and make sure we’re travelling in the right direction to achieve gender equity across STEM in the long term.
“These results from the STEM Equity Monitor, another year on, give us a tool to see trends and measure if our programs are working in bringing more women into STEM study and the STEM workforce.”
First launched in March 2020 as part of the Morrison Government’s Advancing Women in STEM 2020 Action Plan, the STEM Equity Monitor brings together multiple data sets from across government to form a comprehensive and interactive view of girls’ and women’s participation across STEM, from primary school through to the workforce.
Updates will be released annually for a ten year period until 2029, alongside additional commissioned data reports.
The 2021 STEM Equity Monitor report and interactive data sets are available at www.industry.gov.au/stemequitymonitor.