STEM Gender Equity a Matter of Mathematics
Welcoming the Australian Academy of Science’s Women in STEM Decadal Plan, the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) has warned increasing gender equity and diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by 2028 will require sustained government and industry investment.
“Essential to Australia’s innovation future, real impact on female STEM engagement will require long-term funding and a collaborative strategy to deliver change on a national-scale,” said AMSI Director, Professor Tim Brown.
Since mathematical sciences underpins much across science and technology, AMSI is already actively leading efforts to boost female participation in mathematics from schools to early career researchers. Many of its initiatives echo the recommendations put forward by the Academy.
Professor Brown said AMSI Choose Maths was proof of the effectiveness of national classroom and community strategies such as outreach supporting teachers, student and teacher awards, mentoring networks and national careers awareness campaigns in boosting engagement of women and girls,” said Professor Brown.
“We’ve found through our work in over 120 schools and many more through online resources and campaigns, that maths anxiety in teachers and classroom and community messaging has a significant impact on engagement of students, particularly girls,” he said.
Choose Maths has also removed barriers for women in research through a grants program providing travel and family expense support, removing barriers to engagement in AMSI flagship training schools and events.
AMSI’s APR.Intern program is opening doors for women PhD students in STEM through the Australian Government’s National Research Internship Program (NRIP). APR.Intern hosted its first Women in the STEMWorkforce event in 2018, with a second event planned for this year.
The program has increased the number of female PhDs taking up industry placements to 44 per cent since 2017.
“Gender equity and diversity are critical to ensure we have skill supply to meet future demand as we grow our innovation capability as a nation. Accelerating female STEM PhDs into industry is a current focus for APR.Intern to prepare our very best to drive this agenda,” said Professor Brown.
Professor Brown said the Academy’s plan set an exciting and ambitious ten-year vision to position Australia as a progressive leader in STEM equity with the potential to deliver real impact if the disciplines worked together.
A coordinated national effort is needed to deliver significant change for women and girls pursuing STEM in our schools, universities, and at the industry frontline.”
“There is already a lot of good work happening in this space but not at the scale needed to get where we need to be within the next decade. AMSI sees exciting avenues to build valuable collaborations in this space and expand on the impact and success of existing initiatives,” he said.
AMSI is the collaborative enterprise of Australia’s mathematical sciences. Established as an independent platform and advocate for the discipline, the Institute has built a record of national and international achievement as the recognised leader in delivery of services, activities and strategic initiatives across the mathematical pipeline.
Working with key discipline, government and industry partners, AMSI delivers its mission through through the delivery of activities and engagement under its program areas:
Read the Women in STEM Decadal Plan here.
Available For Interview
Professor Tim Brown, AMSI Director
Media Contact: Laura Watson
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