A year of championing the vision for women in STEM

August 28, 2020
Organisations from across the STEM sector coming together to progress the Women in STEM Decadal Plan..

In just one year, 29 Champions have led the way by affirming their commitment to the vision of the Women in STEM Decadal Plan. The national vision aims to establish a thriving STEM-skilled workforce that is fit for the future, globally recognised, powered by a diverse and gender-balanced pipeline, and supported by an inclusive and respectful workplace culture.

The Women in STEM Decadal Plan Champions initiative was launched in August 2019, encouraging all organisations across the STEM sector to submit responses aligning their gender equity activities with the six opportunities outlined in the Women in STEM Decadal Plan. Champions’ responses are publicly available on the Women in STEM website.

A report prepared by the Academy, One Year In—Women in STEM Decadal Plan Champions, analyses the gender equity activities highlighted by Champions and key stakeholders over the past year and defines the next steps to improving gender equity.

This analysis has identified areas of positive action and increased focus for Champions. The information is important for the STEM sector as it enters the second year of implementing the decadal plan.

Findings in the report illustrate that while there has been positive action in many areas, now is not the time to lose momentum given the impact of COVID-19 on women in STEM. Substantial work is required to create systemic change across the STEM sector.

Example of statistics from the report: One-third of Champions have a gender equity policy for panels and events; 15 Champions have a formal diversity and inclusion policy or strategy; 5 Champions addressed intersectionality; there are 3 Male Champions of Change, 6 WGEA Pay Equity Ambassadors, 5 WGEA Employers of Choice, 10 Athena SWAN Bronze Accreditation; 28% identifed unconscious bias training was available, 41% identified flexible work was available; 41% offered a mentoring or leadership program; 16 Champions engage in regular education outreach programs.
Some of the report's key findings.

All Champions displayed visible leadership from their executive teams and demonstrated efforts to improve the visibility of women in STEM roles. All have adopted various forms of inclusive workplace practices such as flexible work, generous paid parental leave policies, domestic violence leave and unconscious bias training.

Intersectionality—which looks at how a person’s social and political identities may combine to create unique situations of privilege or discrimination—was identified as an area with minimal focus. This will be of interest to the STEM sector as emerging research identifies intersectionality as an area of growing knowledge and action.

The Academy continues to welcome new Champion responses and encourages all STEM organisations to share their actions and learnings to show their support for a fair and equitable STEM sector.

Find out how to become a Champion 

© 2020 Australian Academy of Science

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