Women in STEAM (#growing STEAM)

 

Science Gallery Melbourne aims to inspire young adults from all backgrounds in arts and science.

Why? Let’s look at the facts….

  • STEM jobs have grown at 1.5 times the rate of non-STEM jobs
  • The STEM qualified population is growing, but at a much slower rate (15%) compared cent non-STEM population, which is growing at 26%.
  • Only 27% of STEM graduates were female.

Source The Office of the Chief Scientist, Australia’s STEM Workforce 

What can we do about this?

Early this month a group of talented women joined forces in June to discuss Science Gallery Melbourne and women in STEAM. 

Victorian Governor the Hon Linda Dessau AM provided a compelling and timely address. The Governor drew our attention to the underrepresentation of women in the STEM qualified population and singled out Engineering with only 6% female representation. The Governor noted that:  “If we want the best talent to the fore to build our futures, then we want to draw on 100% of the talent pool. Men and women”. The following tweet sums up the response to the Governor’s address: "her excellency is awesome"... #growingSTEAM

We were treated to a power-packed panel with three extraordinary women:

  • Professor Karen Day, Dean of Science, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Misty Jenkins Laboratory head at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical
  • Jess Vovers Engineering PHD student  and President of WISE (Women in Science and Engineering)

Our panel talked about their inspiration and passion for science. They spoke with optimism and humour. They discussed the need to inspire women into the sciences. Karen made the observation that we need to change the perception of science. She let us in on a little secret; she thinks of herself as a geek-chic-detective-in-high-heels. Misty Jenkins talked about her work as research scientist and a role model for young adults and Aboriginal women. Jess Vovers, gave a first-hand account of how science can be gendered.

We threw the microphone open to the floor and asked the following question: how do we get Science Gallery right?  The response was overwhelming and unified be accessible. Our impressive audience which included Yassmin Abdel Magied (Engineer), George Stavrakakis (Microsoft) Rupert Myer (Chair Australia Council of the Arts) Kate Jenkins Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission and Leonie Wash (Lead Scientist) encouraged us to consider  regional access, access from low socio economic backgrounds, cultural diversity.

We know this conversation matters, check out the twitter conversation #growing STEAM 

What happens next?

In 2017 Science Gallery will start a program of super-cool events for young adults. In 2020 we will open our new Gallery. Keep an eye on our website for details.