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The Australian Government is committed to supporting greater gender equity in STEM and has put in place initiatives that will help shape a more gender equal future in the STEM sector.

Advancing Women in STEM articulates the Government’s commitment to continuing action to achieve equality across the STEM sector. This sits alongside the Decadal Plan for Women in STEM, which has set out a ten year roadmap to support the STEM sector – government, industry, research and education – in working together to address the underlying causes of gender inequity.

Bridging the gap between the participation rates of men and women in STEM will not happen overnight. It requires long-term commitment to action. It will take a change in our culture to recognise the integral place of girls and women in STEM. This is not about pushing girls into a STEM career – it is about creating freedom of choice and ensuring our systems, institutions and workplaces support this choice. Helping all Australians understand this – and the opportunities that success in this area will provide – is a key priority of the Government.

The opportunities Australia stands to gain from increasing the representation of women in STEM are extensive. The evidence has shown that gender diverse businesses are more productive and prosperous, and industries with access to more employees with STEM skills are more adaptive and innovative, vital traits as we transition into the economy of the future.

However, the benefits go far beyond the economic. Through removing the systemic cultural and institutional barriers in these sectors, Australia as a whole will become a more confident and capable global presence, one whose entire population is equipped with the essential skills to succeed and excel in the future.

STEM knowledge and skills are the pathway to more efficient services, individually tailored products, advances in resource management, improved personal and national security, better education and care – ultimately, a more sustainable and resilient society that all Australians will benefit from in their daily lives. As long as half of the population is being held back from exploring and applying their abilities and celebrating their achievements in STEM, Australia is also being held back from reaching its full potential.

Advancing Women in STEM will continue to guide the Government’s activities in STEM gender equity, ensuring that we focus on those initiatives with real, long-term impact. Only in this way can we truly make a difference.