Professionals Australia’s gender diversity work is central to delivering proper respect, recognition and reward to STEM professionals.
The objectives of our gender and diversity work are to:
- advocate for a national STEM strategy that values STEM professionals’ work and defines their place in shaping the nation’s future including addressing the obstacles to merit-based progression and advancement for professional women;
- ensure diversity and inclusion are promulgated as part of Professionals Australia’s core values;
- assist our members to understand diversity issues and become advocates of change;
- Integrate our gender activities with profession-based activities;
- ensure Professionals Australia has a credible voice in the national discussion around STEM workforce development including increasing the participation of underrepresented groups to ensure future capability – only 16% of the STEM-qualified workforce are female;
- ensure that the complex range of systemic factors that contribute to the gender pay gap in STEM (including in retirement savings) are documented and addressed in an effort to narrow that gap;
- ensure that gender diversity is understood as more than just a supply/pipeline issue and numerical equality on its own is not a solution to gender inequality;
- effectively communicate the critical contribution of a sustainable STEM workforce to an innovative, engineering, science and technology-driven economy on behalf of our members;
- ensure that sexual harassment and gender-based bullying are understood as serious WH&S issues;
- ensure gender diversity in STEM is understood as a mainstream economic and workforce development issue and a key economic reform priority for the coming decade – a 4% increase in the participation rate of women over the next decade would add $25 billion dollars to the economy; and
- ensure that policy measures to help rebuild the economy as we emerge from the pandemic recognise the gendered employment employment impacts of COVID-19.
We aim to integrate our diversity work within our profession-based programs and across our industrial, legal, research, organising, campaigning, communications and advocacy platforms.
Professionals Australia’s work in the gender and diversity area aims to ensure we have a strong voice in the national discussion around women in STEM by helping identify and document the gender pay gap, providing evidence of women’s actual experiences in STEM workplaces, providing practical solutions for employers to start addressing the attrition of women in workplaces, talking about what unconscious bias is and ways to address it, providing practical career support for women working in STEM, looking at how gender equity issues play out in different industries such as engineering, IT and defence, collaborating with other like-minded organisations to bring about positive long-term change and utilising the industrial relations system to effect broader change in key areas such as superannuation, paid domestic violence leave, access to flexible work provisions, etc. We will also strongly advocate for policy measures to help rebuild the economy as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis recognising the gendered employment impacts of the pandemic. Click here for an overview.
Our affiliation with the ACTU, membership of the Economic Security 4 Women Alliance and peak science body Science & Technology and the alignment of our diversity goals and endorsement as an inaugural champion of the Academy of Science’s decadal plan assist us with progressing this work across a range of industrial and policy platforms.
For a summary of the goals of Professionals Australia’s work in STEM, click here.