The study behind these satistics show that factors causing this trend are prevalent in school. Almost half the percentage of females (6.5%) than males (12.6%) did subjects needed for engineering such as Advanced Mathematics in year 12. They also found that fewer females were participating in Science related subjects such as Physics and Chemistry.
There are, without doubt, successful women in science. But numbers have shown a gender bias once again as to what these women are concentrating on in comparison with their male counterparts. Another study found that women in science, are usually drawn to subjects like biology and social and behavioural science, whereas, males dominate the realms of computer science, physics and engineering.
It seems strange that there could be such a large disparity between career ambitions of the two genders. Interviews with current female engineers found that some of the reasons for the disparity in the field came from discrimination at work, lesser pay, a lack of female mentors and unfair work conditions.
What then can Australia do to combat this problem at hand?
A refocus on STEM, the study of the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is hoping to target this problem and change the current statistics.
STEM courses are aimed at both male and female students even at a young age. It introduces them to a world of creativity and hands-on learning right from the get-go. STEM cancels out gender biases in teaching, learning and thinking.
Female students are exposed to the same subjects as their male counterparts and are encouraged to choose paths they prefer, rather than possibly being told what they ‘should’ be studying, based on societal complexes. Early introduction allows for the possibility of an increased female participation in STEM or engineering related fields later.
Teaching STEM subjects to both male and female students at an early age also tackles the problem of discrimination in work life. Male students in engineering related subjects that progress to the working world, will have no reason to consider it strange for girls to be working alongside them. They will instead, see each other as equals, as they have been right from the start.
We want to help
STEMmates offers equal opportunities to all students – male or female – and hopes to empower and prepare them for today’s (as well as tomorrow’s) working world.
With STEM related careers growing at a faster rate than non-STEM related careers, we want to see Australian youth, of all ages and genders, being successful members of the work force and achieve a “Better Australia”.
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