NCWQ Education Report – November 2022

Prepared  by Deslyn Taylor, Education Adviser

Girls and STEM
What are we doing to encourage more participation.

Curious Minds
The Federal Government is promoting their ‘Curious Minds’ initiative. This is a mentoring program which “supports more female students to ignite their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It acknowledges that ‘women are less likely than men to pursue a higher education in STEM’ and that women make up less than 20% of enrolments in STEM degrees. (1)

STEM Hub in Qld
This offers support for STEM across state Schools in Queensland and includes a STEM Girl Power Initiative. This is a 12-month program ‘that encourages girls to participate in STEM by engaging in a range of exciting STEM experiences and inviting them to inspire other students, by being a STEM ambassador in their school and community.
The program begins with the STEM Girl Power Camp in Term 1, which coincides with the annual World Science Festival Brisbane.’ (2)

Queensland State Schools will also benefit from bandwidth upgrades and Homework Centres both of which will support STEM subjects in schools going forward. (3)

Equal Opportunity – Current Data as at 21 Sept 2022
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 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.
The need for more to be done in this area was reiterated by Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador. She stated ‘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.
SDGs : 4, 5, 10

“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.’(4,5)

Making organisations ‘accountable’ is an important initiative and may improve the opportunities for women
and encourage them to pursue careers in STEM fields.

– Deslyn Taylor (Education Advisor Qld)
M Ed.(QUT), B.A. (U.Q); Grad. Dip. Comp.Ed. (QUT)



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