Women in Engineering and IT Symposium and Network 2019
The Women in Engineering and IT Symposium 2019 brought together universities across Australia and organisations who are working towards increasing the participation of women in STEM degrees, particularly engineering and IT.
Why a symposium?
Increasing the participation of women in STEM degrees and professions is high on the agenda for universities, industry and the government. The Federal Government's Women in STEM Decadal Plan launched in April 2019, has acknowledged that there are a large number of initiatives addressing this challenge. Collaboration across the university sector, together with industry and schools, will broaden and deepen our impact on girls and women, and minimise duplication of effort.
The 2019 Women in Engineering and IT symposium
In 2016 the inaugural Women in Engineering Symposium was organised and hosted by University of Queensland (UQ), followed by the 2018 Symposium in Melbourne organised by UQ and hosted by RMIT University. Read about the history
In 2019, the symposium was jointly hosted by UTS and UNSW and organised by UTS and UNSW in partnership with Macquarie University (MQ) and the University of Sydney (USYD). The event brought together universities and industry plus students and educators from across Australia who are working towards increasing the participation of women in STEM degrees, particularly engineering. The purpose of this event was to address the diversity problem as a collective network, through collaborative initiatives and actions.
Thank you to all the university, industry, government and not-for-profit partners who joined us for the symposium.
Over the 2 days, over 130 attendees across 18 universities, schools, industry and government representatives convened to discuss and identify clear collaborative pathways forward to address gender diversity in engineering and IT.
Keynote speakers from ANSTO, Suncorp, Origin, NSW Department of Education and Training, and the Australian Computing Academy provided insights into what key challenges we face, emerging best practice and why we still haven’t seen more progress towards gender diversity. With participating universities pitching what they are already doing, this kickstarted ‘world cafe’ and discussion sessions on the best collaborative ways forward for the network.
Six collaborative initiatives were identified with action groups to continue working together:
Culture: how to shift university and workplace cultures towards gender inclusion for long-term change?
Evaluation: Benchmarking is much needed for gender equity initiatives and programs. What should best practice data collection/sharing, monitoring and evaluation look like?
Industry: What does a gender inclusive workplace in engineering and IT look like? How do we get there? How do we partner more with schools and universities to connect the trajectory?
Outreach: How do we increase STEM participation during school years through collaborative programs, minimising duplication of effort but maximising long-term impact?
Professional development: How do we better support teachers and parents to encourage girls into STEM?
Redefining STEM: How do we demystify ‘STEM’? Share the diversity of engineering and IT careers, and the challenges you can solve, impact you can have?