Astrophysicist Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith will continue her work as Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador for another 12 months, as well as providing research to support the Australian Government’s Pathway to Diversity Review.
“I am extremely proud of what my team has delivered since I was appointed as Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador in 2018. We are more determined than ever to accelerate progress towards equity in STEM as we bring together industry, workplaces, and educational providers to drive the systemic and cultural change necessary to ensure everyone can participate,” Professor Harvey-Smith, pictured, said.
Since the introduction of her role in 2018, Professor Harvey-Smith and her team have delivered numerous projects to accelerate progress towards equity in STEM, including the STEM Equity Evaluation Portal, the National Evaluation Guide for STEM Equity Programs and Future You, the Australian Government’s national awareness-raising initiative for primary school students about STEM careers. The team is also preparing to release two major research studies that will inform Australia’s research sector on actions to remove barriers to career progression.
Government and sector efforts are creating positive change. Data from the 2022 STEM Equity Monitor reveal that from 2018-21, there was a 34% increase in the number of women in STEM-qualified occupations, compared to a 6% increase amongst men. Data for other gender identities were not available.
More women are also choosing to study STEM. Between 2018 and 2020, the number of women enrolled in university STEM courses increased from 77,673 to 87,371. This was a 12% increase, compared to a 5% increase for men.
Professor Harvey-Smith says there is still much to do.
“The recent launch of our STEM Equity Evaluation Portal is an important step toward improving diversity in our sector and aligns closely with the Government’s announcement of a review into existing STEM equity initiatives," she said.
“The Portal will tell us which of our current programs are working best, so I encourage everyone to evaluate their STEM equity programs using the Portal, whether they are focused on workplace change or building the STEM-skilled workforce. “
Professor Harvey-Smith is a public authority on STEM equity issues, providing advice to government departments, educators, peak bodies, and industry leaders. She is respected within the STEM community for her ongoing contributions to addressing STEM equity and her commitment to driving, social and cultural change.
The Government is providing up to $1.3 million over 2022 to 2023 for the Women in STEM Ambassador initiative.