This year’s International Women’s Day theme is Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future. It’s all about how bold ideas, inclusive technologies and accessible education can combat discrimination and the marginalisation of women.
And with technology now woven into every aspect of our lives, this is more important than ever.
We know there is a stark inequality across STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) industries, at every level. This matters, because while inequalities exist across many industries, the gender bias inherent in technology impacts us in ways we might not even realise.
Products may not capture the needs of half of the population if women are not on the design teams.
Bias and existing inequities grow if data fed to Artificial Intelligence (AI) does not include contributions from women.
Basically, technology will never be equal or representative of its users if there is a lack of diversity in development teams – technology reflects its makers.
And we know this lack of diversity and underrepresentation exists. Just take a look at these stats from Australia:
Women are also more digitally excluded than men. Australian women on low incomes, unpaid carers, women with disability, First Nations women and older women are more likely to have lower skills, confidence, and affordable access to the internet.
It’s not just here. There’s a huge digital gender gap around the world, with 250 million fewer women than men online. And 327 million fewer women than men have a smartphone and access to mobile internet.
Ensuring equal access to education, career pathways, leadership opportunities and inclusive workplaces for women in STEM is key to #CrackingTheCode to gender equality. Being digitally included, confident and connected is more crucial than ever.
That’s why we’re doing all we can to create a gender equal future in STEM and innovation, by
- boosting women’s participation in energy and manufacturing,
- supporting women-led start-ups, and
- running specialised programs to support women in male-dominated industries.
These initiatives are key to not only progressing gender equality. They enable access an enormous pool of untapped talent and opportunity. A way to achieve Victoria’s scientific potential and fill critical skills shortages.
When we boost the representation of women and girls in STEM, we all benefit from their wealth of unique ideas, perspectives and talents. This helps create a fairer, more inclusive future.
Follow our socials for more IWD content, where we delve into the impacts of this gender bias, and champion Victorian women who are #CrackingThe Code.
Lastly, are you in the VPS and interested in supporting women and non-binary people in STEM? Join the Ada Lovelace Network.