Cochlear, Toyota Australia, KPMG, Flamingo Ai, and the Australian Academy of Science are among Australian STEM leaders taking the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute’s (AMSI) Women in STEM Pledge to pay it forward by opening opportunities for a new generation of women.
Launched today in Melbourne at STEMFest 2019: Women Changing Australia, industry and members of the Australian STEM workforce at every stage of their career are joining the pledge online. Whether today, tomorrow or in the future the aim is to take real action to boost diversity. Those who sign on will say they ‘take the ‘#WiSTEMpledge to open opportunities for women in STEM’.
Pledgers can also show their support and commitment by posting a picture with the official downloadable pledge sign on social media using the #/WiSTEMpledge hashtag.
The pledge, says AMSI’s Director, Professor Brown, is not about putting a timeline on change.
“Whether through established or future initiatives, workforce planning or an AMSI APR.Intern placement, this is about being the change we want to see. The key is action,” says Professor Brown.
The team will engage with those pledging along the way to support their success by promoting and celebrating the impacts of opportunities opened.
Representing only 16 per cent of Australia’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce, women account for only 22 per cent of the tech workforce and just 7 per cent of those in engineering.
These numbers, according to Flamingo Ai Founder and Executive Director and STEMFest Keynote, Dr Catriona Wallace, remain too low. A powerful career accelerator for women in STEM, she is honoured to add her name to the pledge to open doors for new talent.
“As a leader in technology I feel a strong obligation to forge pathways for women – that’s one of the reasons I founded Flamingo Ai. I’ve led a technology company that holds gender and diversity at its heart and, also used my voice to educate the market on the importance of the role of women, equity and diversity in the sector.”
Adding her name to the pledge, Dr Wallace says, “I formally pledge that I will seek out and provide jobs for women as interns, casual or full-time workers in technology.”
Creative problem solvers and strong collaborators, women bring a different lens to STEM challenges and the human side of innovation. Harnessing these perspectives, says Wallace, will be essential to how we shape technology and Artificial Intelligence and its role in our lives.
“90% of coding and engineering is done by men. A lack of diversity poses a real risk of data bias being hard coded into the machines and algorithms that will run our lives, as individuals, organisations, governments and communities,” she says.
Austin Health recently opened a door for PhD, Basant Ebaid with an APR.Intern placement at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre. This experience has reinforced for Basant the powerful impact of women supporting women in STEM and shining the light on career pathways.
“Australian women have and continue to make significant contributions to STEM. Promoting these achievements and nurturing future talent will defy gender stereotypes and drive diversity to support innovation,” she says.
The pledge is a natural step for AMSI and its APR.Intern program. Opening opportunities is something AMSI does best, creating career changing gateways between high-level expertise and the innovation workforce.
Having made the pledge himself, AMSI’s APR.Intern Program Director, Gary Hogan hopes others will draw on the feeling of that first yes, the jubilation of having a door opened and use the pledge to pay it forward for the next generation of women in STEM.
“It only takes one person to change a life, but together we can change a generation. Increasing the number of women in STEM not only ensures a secure skill supply but it delivers diversity of ideas and innovation that reflects and lifts our whole community,” he says.
Australians and companies working in STEM industries are encouraged to pay it forward and pledge an opportunity for women in STEM. Visit https://amsi.org.au/pledge/ to join the movement and bring us closer to equity. You can also share your support and pledge online using the hashtag #WiSTEMpledge.
Video Address from the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education
Photographs for use:
https://amsi.org.au/catrionawallace_flamingoaiteam/ (Dr Catriona Wallace, Executive Director and Founder, Flaming Ai making the pledge with team members – Credit – Supplied)
(AMSI APR.Intern Program Director, Gary Hogan and AMSI APR.Intern National Progam Manager, Cate Ballard – Credit – Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute)
In high demand across all industry sectors, the mathematical sciences are central to powering Australia’s STEM capability with the skills to drive new technologies and innovation. As Australia’s only not-for-profit national voice and champion for mathematics and statistics, we work with schools, universities, industry, philanthropy, government and the community to help shape policy and skill Australia for the future.
Building engagement and capability, we drive programs to strengthen the discipline and enhance its impact and role in Australian education, research, innovation and industry. A collaboration of Australia’s university mathematics departments, our growing membership network includes over 41 Australian universities, mathematics.
Australia’s only all sector—all discipline not-for-profit postgraduate internship program, APR.Intern is transforming Australian businesses through university research collaborations. The program provides a platform for industry to further develop and innovate through short-term 3-5 month tightly focused research projects, and gives postgraduate students the opportunity to apply highly analytical research expertise to the project while gaining invaluable experience in an industry setting. Currently the program is delivering the National Research Internship Program with focus on increasing the participation of women in STEM.
These internships are supported by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, through the ‘Supporting more women in STEM careers: Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) – National Research Internship Program.
Professor Tim Brown, AMSI Director
Gary Hogan, AMSI APR.Intern Program Director
Dr Catriona Wallace, Executive Director and Founder, Flamingo Ai
Basant Ebaid, APR.Intern PhD student, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre
Media Contact: Laura Watson
M: 04215 18733