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Women in STEM and Trades

Last updated: 15/08/2018 7:00 PM
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The Department of Communities works with Western Australia’s business sector, community organisations, and other public sector agencies to support increased career choices for girls and women.

Female participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) training and careers and trades is significantly lower than male participation, particularly in non-health, engineering and related technologies, and information technology fields. Across Australia, only 16 per cent of STEM qualified people are women, this is despite evidence showing that the number of jobs requiring STEM skills is increasing.

Between 2006 and 2011, it was estimated that jobs requiring STEM skills grew at about 1.5 times the rate of other jobs – by 14 per cent compared to nine per cent - and that demand for STEM skills is anticipated to continue. Women’s lower rate of STEM skills attainment can also limit their career progression, effectively excluding them from the fastest growing jobs in the future.

The State Government has committed $3.3 million to boost the number of Western Australian’s pursuing STEM careers, focusing on school students and schools to develop STEM career and training pathways.

Women are also significantly underrepresented in trades training and trades workforces.  For more than a decade, women have comprised about ten per cent of West Australian apprentices. Women are estimated to comprise 25 per cent or less of the workforce in the construction (15 per cent); mining (21 per cent); manufacturing (23 per cent); transport, postal and warehousing (24 per cent); and electricity, gas, water and waste services (25 per cent) industries.

One initiative undertaken by the department to support the increased participation of women in these fields is the Women in STEM and Trades Pledge.

Women leading the way in STEM and Trades

To view profiles of women currently pursuing a range of careers in STEM and trades in Western Australia view Women working in STEM fields and trades.