Australia focus on women participation in STEM

The defence will strive toward setting a fifty per cent target for women’s involvement across critical research and innovation career pathways (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) entry-level programs) to assist in securing a workforce that better represents the different talents of our nation. This will help ensure we have a force that meets our needs.

This modification will be implemented across all science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) entry-level programs run by the Department of Defense in the Australian Public Service (APS). These programs include the STEM Cadetship Program and the Research and Innovation Pathway of the Defence Graduate Program.

The present participation percentage for women in these entry-level programs is 25%; achieving the aim would double that participation rate and reflect a real commitment to expanding the number of women working in STEM-related fields.

Increasing diversity and participation in these critical disciplines helps increase the capability of the Defense Department by ensuring that a more significant number of people may benefit from chances to gain skills and find employment.

In addition to increasing the number of women who participate in entry-level programs, the Department of Defense will also establish a target of female participation equal to fifty per cent for the NAVIGATE program, which was a successful pilot. As a result of NAVIGATE’s tremendous success as a pilot project in 2022, the Department of Defense has decided to make it an ongoing initiative.

Through the NAVIGATE initiative, experienced STEM experts from industry and academia are recruited into the Defense Department. This gives participants a one-of-a-kind experience and helps them flourish as STEM leaders while increasing the diversity of the APS workforce used by the Department of Defense.

Before participants are guaranteed a permanent position with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), they usually undergo two rotations lasting six months each in distinct branches of the Department of Defense. This helps individuals identify how they may contribute to the context of the Defense Department while also building abilities specific to the Defense Department.

In 2022, more than 800 applications came in for the NAVIGATE program from members of the STEM community working in both the public and corporate sectors. The Department of Defense aimed to achieve a forty per cent participation rate for women and reached a figure of forty-three per cent. The Department of Defense intends to work toward achieving a female participation rate of fifty per cent.

According to Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite MP’s statement, “Increased STEM targets at Defence open significant opportunities for women to amplify our Force’s capabilities.”

“We are supporting efforts to attract STEM talent to the challenging yet rewarding field of innovation and technology in the Department of Defense.” NAVIGATE is how we will assemble an elite group of subject matter experts.

“The launch of NAVIGATE with explicit gender goals highlights how determined participation targets bring tangible results.”

Professor Tanya Monro, the Chief Defence Scientist, stated, “By setting targets for women’s participation in our STEM entry programs, we draw more fully on our nation’s talent pool, allowing Defence science to deliver greater impact to the ADF.”

“Continuing to ensure the success of women requires strong leadership and a commitment to change, and as a result, I am incredibly proud of these ambitious targets,”

“Becoming a model for attracting, training, retaining, and creating professional opportunities for women is one of the goals of the Department of Defense’s reform strategy. These milestones indicate how we are moving in the direction of accomplishing this goal.

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