Who’s afraid of a gender equity quota?
On 25 July, a collaborative event at UTS’s city campus will bring together leading policy makers, industry and academics to tackle some of the stumbling blocks to attracting and keeping talented women in the male-dominated fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
Sponsored by UniBank, the symposium will feature Libby Lyons, head of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Speakers from the Wingara Indigenous Employment Strategy; MYOB Group and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering will also present their experiences bringing quotas into the workplace.
The event aims to get participants talking targets and workshopping issues around women’s recruitment, retention and promotion. In line with this, a key focus of the day will be a workshop addressing organisational barriers to implementing sector change.
“We’re interested in creating a truly collaborative event—one in which people feel empowered to contribute, to share their knowledge and experience, as well as to learn from the experiences of others in the STEMM sector,” said Verity Firth, Executive Director of the UTS Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion.
The symposium is part of UTS’s whole-of-university strategy to progress gender equity in the STEMM disciplines under the university’s Athena SWAN commitment. Outcomes from the event will be included in a report outlining key issues going forward, as well as what is needed to progress the gender equity agenda as a sector.
“The STEMM workforce is highly educated and drives Australian innovation, but it has a ‘leaky pipeline’ for women in the workforce. With the launch of the Women in STEMM Decadal Plan earlier this year, there is a great opportunity to contribute to the sector debate around readiness to implement practical change for gender equality,” said Alicia Pearce, UTS Athena SWAN program manager.
UTS is genuinely committed to driving progress across STEMM, both inside and outside of universities, and has set a target of 40% academic women in STEMM by 2022 as part of its Athena SWAN Bronze Action Plan.
“When it comes to boosting the number of women who not only start a career in STEMM but continue to grow and develop in the field, we can do so much better. Universities have an important role to play in promoting public interest debate and discussion to drive real change.”
UTS has a strong track record in supporting gender equity and has be awarded a Workplace Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice citation consistently since the award’s inception.
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