Lecquia Chang, Year 12
Steminism. Yes, feminism and STEM… what an inspiring age as we delve further into the information age of the 21st century.
However, it is not uncommon to hear that there is still a lack of female representation in the industry of science, technology, engineering and maths today. Unsurprisingly, the STEM industry continues to be male-dominated with only 2% of the 51 000 women who applied for an undergraduate course received an offer for engineering and related technology courses compared to the 12% of 38 000 male university applicants in NSW and ACT, according to UAC statistics in 2017. The Engineering field still has a long way to go in terms of achieving gender equality.
According to 2016-2017 statistics published by the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda:
· 1 in 4 IT graduates and few than 1 in 10 engineering graduates are women
· Fewer than 1 in 5 senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes are female occupied
· Overall, only one quarter of the STEM workforce is women
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Frankly, the image of endless numbers, mechanics, chemistry, physics and biology can be quite daunting, making it easy for young women to limit themselves from these career options. Hence why I believe that having women in active engineering roles is crucial in inspiring young women, not only prominent engineers but all female students. It is so important for us women to maintain an expanding and robust network to help avoid career blocks from STEM through low expectations, discomfort, stigmas and stereotypes.
So I call upon all young women at Loreto Normanhurst to smash the STEM gender gap, and fears of science, IT and maths that it’s “too hard”. Of course it’s challenging! Of course it melts your brain! But it is rewarding as the information age continues to flourish.
Celebrating Australian Women in STEM:
Professor Michelle Yvonne Simmons
Professor Simmons directs the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at UNSW. In January 2018, she was named Australian of the Year for her ambitious and inspiring pioneering research into quantum computing. Professor Simmons’ research group developed the world’s first single-atom transistor and the narrowest conducting silicon wires only four atoms wide and one atom high! These materials are the foundations of our everyday technology i.e. our phones, laptops, calculators, microwaves etc.
Professor Veena Sahajwalla
Professor Veena Sahajwalla directs the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at UNSW. She has dedicated her research into revolutionising the recycling of toxic and complex materials via smarter and low cost alternatives. She aims to promote the collaboration of engineers, researchers and scientists to ensure that scientific advances in sustainable materials and processes are readily available to achieve commercially viable environmental solutions such as electronic wastes in landfills.