It is widely accepted that gendered factors such as stereotypes that are socialised at a young age, contribute to the occupational and educational choices of women and men.
According to a 2014 report prepared for the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) by Kelly Roberts:
‘Women are under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields in education and employment, with gender disparity particularly apparent in disciplines such as mathematics, engineering and computing. This claim is well supported by the data. Only 28% of the employed STEM-qualified Australians aged 15 years and over were female in 2011, with this figure as low as 14% in the field of engineering. In the same year, only 33% of tertiary qualifications were awarded to Australian women in STEM fields. Poor participation of girls in mathematics is particularly troubling, as this is a gateway discipline to other fields. It is not only advantageous to have studied intermediate or advanced level mathematics at secondary school, but in many cases it is requisite to tertiary study in STEM disciplines, such as engineering and computing. Nonetheless, only 6.6% of all female year 12 students in Australia in 2013 studied an advanced level mathematics subject, while 17.5% took intermediate level mathematics in the same year. While participation rates in advanced mathematics are low across the board, both of these figures are lower than for their male peers’.
Furthermore, according to the Graduate Careers Australia’s (GCA) report An analysis of the gender wage gap in the Australian labour market, 2013, it was found that overall males’ starting salaries were 9.4% higher than female starting salaries. The researchers attribute part of this gap to the fact that employees in male-dominated fields, such as engineering, are more highly remunerated.
Have I got your attention?
As well as having a read of these links, I found this interesting little ‘walkthrough’. Okay, so this is a US site….and in Australia you are not starting your ‘freshman’ year. But the story is still the same. What path will you take when you go to University? Your first step on that path is not at the end of Year 12…you started it many, many years ago.
And if you are a girl, you were, and still are, behind the eight ball in terms of acceptance, remuneration and recognition of your talents in your pursuit of the STEM subjects.
So sit down over lunch and take a wander through ‘Pipeline’, which offers an insight into what it is like being a clever female looking to move into a male dominated career.
Pipeline was created by Danielle Frostig and Arianna Benson for Gender and Science.
‘Pipeline’ by Arianna Benson & Danielle Frostig