According to Professionals Australia, in 2011 only 28 per cent of employed STEM-qualified Australians over 15 are women, compared with 55 per cent in all tertiary qualified fields.
"If we truly want girls to participate in STEM and encourage them to explore these fields, they need to feel part of a community with girls and boys, together as equals."
Carina Parisella, Business Enablement Manager in Technology, Services and Operations
In information technology it sits at 25 per cent women, while in engineering it is a mind-boggling 14 per cent. A similar disparity is reflected around the world.
Since then though, the business community has fought back, with many companies including ANZ running and supporting education and participation programs aimed at addressing the issue.
One such program is Robogals, an international not-for-profit organisation which aims to increase female participation in STEM through the application of fun and educational initiatives for girls in both primary and secondary school.
I have recently had the pleasure of working with the incredibly talented and dedicated team from Robogals Monash.
What I love about Robogals is it isn’t just about a bunch of girls getting together playing with pink lego screaming “girl power”. It made me realise when we talk about women in leadership or women in STEM we often jump straight into female-only events and networking sessions.
Instead, if we truly want girls to participate in STEM and encourage them to explore these fields, they need to feel part of a community with girls and boys, together as equals. And we need to start early.