According to an ANU study, the STEM initiative has little impact on improving gender equality.

According to a new study conducted by researchers at the Australian National University (ANU), there are many initiatives in Australia aimed at increasing women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), but there is still evidence. Almost none. How effective these initiatives are.

research Does the effort to get more women in STEM really work?We have confirmed that 337 gender equality programs and initiatives are offered nationwide in the Australian Social Issues Journal, but provide publicly-faced assessment data that goes beyond self-reports of satisfaction and enjoyment. I did only seven.

“A myriad of initiatives represent a coordinated effort to bring girls and women into STEM, but the lack of meaningful evidence of impact means that these initiatives benefit girls and women and are desirable. It means you don’t know if you’re achieving policy outcomes. ” Merryn McKinnon, research author and senior lecturer at the ANU Center for the Public Awareness of Science.

Some of these initiatives considered as part of the study include the establishment of the Federal Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology (WISET) Advisory Group in 1995 and the Women in STEM Entrepreneurship (WISE) Grant Program in 2015. , And 10 Years 2018-2019 Plans for STEM Women in Budget.

McKinnon pointed out that many of the impacts of the STEM program will not be substantiated for years.

“For example, if a student experiences a program in elementary school, does it affect subject selection in junior high school? An assessment of this nature is costly, time consuming, and rarely performed. This has the potential. The “success” of a program is not as based on the “framing and storytelling” of the program or the evidence available as it achieves, “McKinnon said.

McKinnon, on the other hand, is based on “convincing or compelling narratives” rather than “evidence” because the success of the initiative attracts attention and therefore more support for positive narratives. Insisted that it could be measured.

Also read: Rethinking the conversation about technological diversity and inclusion in Australia

The study found that the distribution of existing initiatives was imbalanced. Most of these programs are available in Victoria and New South Wales. However, McKinnon said, “Given the number of scholarships offered, it could probably be related to a density comparison of higher education and research sectors in these states.”

McKinnon has concluded to determine the effectiveness of these initiatives. The focus is “beyond program offerings, we need to be more critically involved in which programs should be offered to whom and why.”

“Resources are not necessarily allocated to initiatives that have a positive impact on achieving gender equality policy goals,” she said, unless evidence is found that identifies best practices for closing gender inequality in STEM. Stated.

See: 10 Ways Companies Can Attract Diverse Pools of Job Seekers (TechRepublic)

Earlier this month, while facing Senate estimates, Australia’s chief scientist, Dr. Alain Finkielkra, admitted that there is still a long way to go before the country reaches equality.

“It’s heavily influenced by home and parents. Young women’s decisions are heavily influenced by peer pressure, teachers, and role models, and trying to remedy it is a daunting effort. But it takes time, “he said. ..

“There has been progress, but the speed of progress is very slow.”

He said the number of female STEM workforce graduates was about 29% in 2016 and 27% five years ago.

“It’s a move in the right direction, but it’s a very small move,” he said.

During the estimate, Finkel was also asked if he would reach parity by 2091.

“The answer is correct, preferably sooner,” he said. “It’s not exactly clear what the real goal is. Is it irrational equality in all single areas, or gender equality across all STEM areas? Or all specialties? Is it gender equality in the field? STEM or non-STEM? ”

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According to an ANU study, the STEM initiative has little impact on improving gender equality.

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