STEM Equity Monitor will help drive universal changes in gender equity

March 08, 2020

The Australian Academy of Science welcomes the Advancing Women in STEM 2020 Action Plan announced today by the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP.

Academy President Professor John Shine said the action plan is a key step to deliver the vision of Australia’s 10-year plan for Women in STEM. The plan was developed by the Academy in partnership with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering following wide ranging consultation with the STEM sector.

“The Government is clearly committed to delivering on the vision of the 10-year plan. Their action plan is focused on education, careers and visibility and a number of important initiatives on changing practice, data and evaluation,” Professor Shine said.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. The 10-year plan for Women in STEM makes clear that most gender equity programs in STEM in Australia, apart from a handful of programs such as the Science in Australia Gender Equity initiative, lack useful performance data and formal evaluation.

“The STEM Equity Monitor will play a significant role in tracking the impacts of initiatives across the STEM sector and inform the systemic changes required to achieve gender equity,” Professor Shine said.  

The Academy also welcomes:

  • the development of national evaluation guidelines for projects that support girls’ and women’s participation in STEM. Directly responding to the Women in STEM 10-year plan, these guidelines will enable program and initiative owners to undertake self-evaluation that is consistent and comparable across Australia
  • the Australian peer-reviewed trial of anonymised ranking in the assessment of research funding proposals, to be conducted by Women in STEM Ambassador Lisa Harvey-Smith.

“No single sector or organisation can solve the under-representation of women in STEM nor remove the barriers they face,” Professor Shine said.

“Let’s celebrate our successes this International Women’s Day but also acknowledge that we have a long journey ahead when it comes to achieving gender equity and diversity in STEM.

“We will continue to work with the Government and the STEM sector to achieve the vision of the Women in STEM 10-year plan and to keep driving this systemic change.”

© 2020 Australian Academy of Science

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