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Uni focusses on women in STEM

While QUT’s proportion of senior staff who are women (42%) is well above the national average, numbers in the science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) areas are relatively low. New programs to support the progression and retention of women in STEM are underway, and expected to bear fruit in the coming years.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Coaldrake said that efforts to bring about equal opportunity in the STEM areas had been underway for some time, but needed boosting if sustainable progress was to be made.

“Diversity is good for business, and we are in the knowledge business. So we want to ensure our teaching, research and community service is informed and enriched by a diversity of perspectives,” Professor Coaldrake said.

“I recently approved increased funding for programs to support women and to improve organisational culture in the STEM areas.

“Work is underway on recruitment practices, promotion and career planning, and selection practices to try and eliminate any bias, including unconscious bias, and to ensure career breaks for caring and rearing do not become a career-long disadvantage,” he said.

Professor Coaldrake acknowledged that the inaugural national program to improve gender equity in STEM, called SAGE, was an important initiative and hoped that all Australian institutions would participate.

“To make gains for women in STEM requires a national effort across all aspects of recruitment and retention,” he said.

Source: QUT

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