As part of a campaign to drive the sector toward gender equity, InnovationAus.com is undertaking a project to map every organisation supporting women in STEM, from those running education programs to internship and mentorship opportunities.
The substantial support for women in STEM has led to plethora of effective programs, but there has been a lack of visibility over the support landscape, InnovationAus.com publisher Corrie McLeod. The mapping project aims to enable better coordination and collaboration between these programs.
The Mapping STEM Champions project will produce an interactive map highlighting programs that support women in STEM. Members of the team behind the project said compiling an initial list of about 80 companies took several weeks, while there is thought to be about 300 programs in Australia.
InnovationAus will publish the map in the coming months, and will host an event to support program leaders October 13 to coincide with the day celebrating mathematician Ada Lovelace. InnovationAus.com will be undertaking a survey of women in STEM projects across Australia.
This information will be used to produce a database of all organisations supporting women in STEM in Australia and launched alongside the map. InnovationAus.com is will host a launch event on October 13 in Sydney.
Representatives of programs or organisations supporting women in STEM can participate in the survey here.
In 2020, the Australian Academy of Science published their Women in STEM Decadal Plan and found that there were more than 300 gender equity initiatives.
InnovationAus.com founder and publisher Corrie McLeod said she expects the project will play a coordinating role in supporting women and girls in STEM.
“At the moment there’s an abundance of organisations looking to support women in STEM and a great amount of energy behind them. This is an amazing situation to be in, but we want to help move the needle on this issue much faster,” Ms McLeod said.
“I hope this map can serve to create visibility over the ecosystem and provide some insight on what areas need more support. With this map our dialogue on supporting women in STEM could be greatly enhanced. In terms of outputs, the organisations that are working on similar programs could benefit from collaborating with each other, but we need to make those connections more accessible.”
The Mapping STEM Champions project is an evolution of the InnovationAus.com ‘See What You Can Be’ interview series with trailblazing women across the STEM sector, which began in mid-2021. InnovationAus.com partnered with coolaustralia.org on this project to make these interviews available to teachers across Australia.
According to the federal government’s STEM Equity Monitor 2021, of those studying STEM fields at the tertiary level in 2019, only 22 per cent were women. When looking at the proportion of those who completed STEM qualifications that were women, the figure is 24 per cent. Of those working in STEM-qualified industries in 2020, only 28 per cent were women.
The Monitor also found that there was a gender pay gap of $28,994 between qualified men and women working in STEM in 2020. This is greater than the gender pay gap calculated across all industries, which is $25,534.
Ms McLeod said that change is coming, but that gender equity could not be reached without continuing support.
“I hope that by creating a clearer picture of the pathways available, even more women can flourish in STEM. I am so excited to get stuck into this project and help make these programs more accessible,” Ms McLeod said.
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