Girls: The next generation of STEM leaders
52% of Australian girls aged 12-14 want to study STEM subjects in the future. That’s promising, right? Hopeful as it may sound, current Aussie girls’ enrolments in STEM tertiary study are lower than any other country in the Asia Pacific.
So, why the disparity?
“Mastercard’s annual Girls in STEM survey revealed that while more than half (52%) of Australian girls aged 12-14 want to pursue a career in STEM, more needs to be done to inspire and encourage girls and women to do so,” says Leah Rocheleau, Senior Vice President, Applied Predictive Technologies (APT).
“For the second year running, Australia has the lowest percentage among countries in the APAC region for girls electing to take STEM subjects in school (27%). At a tertiary level, almost half of graduates (46%) surveyed believe Australian universities can better prepare women for STEM careers through networking and internship opportunities.”
How can we get more girls into STEM study?
“By nurturing the next generation of female scientists, technologists, and designers, we can help build more inclusive communities and better, brighter futures. The solution lies in actively supporting women through every stage of their career, from education to career progression, job changes and ongoing professional development.
“Mastercard has a number of initiatives which aim to provide this support. These include our sponsorship of the 2017 Australian Women in Payment Symposium and our global Girls4Tech education program – both aim to inspire, engage and cultivate a lifelong interest in STEM among school students or those that are at a professional level.”
The report’s key findings:
– For the second year running, Australia has the lowest percentage of girls studying STEM in the APAC region.
– More than half (52%) of Australian girls aged between 12-14 want to pursue a career in STEM.
– Almost one in four girls aged 15-19 did not end up with a STEM job as there were no openings despite 1 in 5 STEM graduates finding their job search to be easy, with majority landing their first job within the first six months.
– The number one career for STEM graduates is within the healthcare and medical sector (45%), followed by computer and information technology (24%).
– Parents (57%), teachers/counsellors (8%) and school environment (14%) ranked as the most important influence the career path of young girls.
– Almost a quarter believe that featuring successful STEM role models is a way of encouraging girls to pursue STEM subjects.
Teen attitudes towards STEM
Teens (Aged 12-19)
– 70% of Australian girls aged between 15-19 believe STEM jobs are suitable for women.
– Australian girls prefer creative pursuits with actresses, artists and teachers being the most popular dream career paths among girls aged 12-14.
– Reasons for not studying STEM include perceptions of male dominance (52%), lack of interest (48%) and lack of encouragement from society (39%).
– 70% of Australian girls believe parents are the most influential factor in studying STEM.
– More than half of Australian girls believe parents are the most influential factor in their career paths.
– Almost a quarter believe that featuring successful women in STEM fields role models is a way of encouraging girls to pursue STEM subjects.
Graduate attitudes towards STEM
– 1 in 5 STEM graduates found their job search to be easy.
– Reasons for majoring in STEM include passion (42%), the challenge (42%) and excelling in the subject (37%).
– More than half of those surveyed believed that women are less likely than men to work in STEM, one of the reasons being that STEM jobs tend to be male dominated.
– Almost half of graduates believe that universities can better prepare women in STEM fields for careers by creating more networking opportunities and offering STEM internships.