Australia is a long way from gender equality in tech and other STEM fields

A federal government monitor of gender equality showed a very slow growth of women studying and working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

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The Australian federal government has been collating data to report girls’ and women’s uptake in studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The yearly STEM Equity Monitor has shown very slow advancement and plenty of areas to improve before Australia can achieve gender equality in STEM careers.

The monitor was launched in March 2020 as part of the federal government’s Advancing Women in STEM 2020 Action Plan, which falls short on setting clear goals to reach the proposed gender equality in STEM industries. The plan’s outcomes come down to educational systems and workplaces supporting the active inclusion of girls and women in STEM.

Studies, such as the 2015 Diversity Matters from McKinsey, which examined proprietary data sets for 366 public companies across a range of industries in Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and the United States concluded that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to financially outperform their counterparts.

The 1% increase of women in STEM roles is too slow

The STEM Equity Monitor showed a very slow growth in the number of women enrolling for STEM courses, completing those courses, being employed in STEM areas, and so on. Despite this being a yearly report, in a statement the recently appointed minister for industry, science, and technology, Christian Porter, chose to compare current data to that of five years ago, which shows a 4% increase of women working in STEM industries since 2016. But a closer look that compares the data from 2019 to 2020 shows only a 1% increase in the number of women working in STEM industries.

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