Women in STEM plan sets deadline for gender equality in research funding

Women should make up 50 per cent of enrolments in vocational STEM and higher education engineering and IT degrees by 2028. The target is in a draft for the decadal plan for women in STEM, which the Commonwealth Government has commissioned from the Academy of Science.

The draft also calls for “no significant gender differences” in a decade, among recipients of publicly funded STEM grants, awards and promotions.

It also proposes amending the Broadcasting Control Act to require, “equity of representation in media content,” so that, “public representation of STEM professionals reflects Australia’s social diversity.” Achieving this could be required in licensee codes of content.

Other objectives include;

* a 50% increase in the number of young women indicating interest in STEM study and careers in senior secondary school

* universities and independent research institutes to be encouraged (and potentially funded) to assist researchers to maintain their research productivity during parental or carers’ leave, including by covering research assistant costs

* a 20% increase by 2028 in the number of women in STEM leadership positions

* “by 2028 women and underrepresented groups feel safe in Australian STEM organisations, and acceptable workplace behaviour is considered as important as ‘research quality’.”

* federal government seed funding for a specialist-recruiter, “with a specific focus to recruit and support women in STEM roles.”

An Academy of Science spokesperson says, “the Women in STEM ten-year plan is a work in progress and the complete and final plan will be publicly released in due course.”


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