To secure Australia’s health and economy into the future, the talents of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) are vital. In the life sciences, over half of all Bachelor of Science and PhD graduates are women – and have been since the mid-1980s; yet there are fewer than two women in every ten investigators at senior levels in our universities and research institutes. In contrast, physics, maths, technology and engineering struggle to attract women to pursue careers in these disciplines. How many women in science are inspiring science teachers, educators, entrepreneurs, executives, manufacturers, editors or policy-makers?
Actions that encourage gender equity and equality in STEMM, as well as family-friendly policies must be taken now. Gender equity and equality in STEMM is not a “women’s issue” – it affects all of us, so it is everyone’s issue! It is not just about having children either – having a young family in the formative years of a career in science affects more women yes, but it also affects men. Australia’s STEMM workforce has the greatest attrition rates between the ages of 35-45 years. Most who leave are women. While some choose to leave, many do not want to, but feel they must for a variety of reasons, including the hypercompetitive culture of STEMM research, an inability to maintain the elite-level Track Record required to obtain funding, the limited metrics by which we measure success in STEMM, unconscious bias and the impact of career interruptions.
Women in STEMM Australia aims to connect women in science across every professional sector – education, research, industry, academia and government. Together, we can create a progressive, inclusive environment that allows more women in science to lead and excel. Join this important discussion and learn more about our phenomenal women in STEMM Down Under!