Federal Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews has warned significant numbers of young Australian women could be unemployable if they do not acquire science and maths skills, adding parents need to be encouraging their daughters to stick with their STEM studies.
Ahead of a report on women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) on Sunday, Ms Andrews pointed to the low take-up of STEM study at university coupled with high demand for these skills in the workforce. She stressed 75 per cent of the jobs in the fastest-growing industries need STEM skills.
“This International Women’s Day we are faced with an alarming prospect that a large number of our young girls and women could be unemployable,” Ms Andrews, a qualified mechanical engineer, told The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age.
The new STEM “equity monitor” shows in 2019, 27 per cent of high school-aged girls aspired to a STEM-related career, compared to 42 per cent of boys. It also shows only 9 per cent of women in higher education (both university and vocational) were studying STEM in 2018, compared to 35 per cent of men.