Australian leaders tackle gender inequality in STEM

MEDIA RELEASE  – 10 November 2016


Australian leaders across business, government and universities have come together to establish a Male Champions of Change (MCC) group focused on gender equality in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Inspired by the work of the founding MCC, with the support of the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, the MCC STEM is a high calibre and influential group of that will lead with action to accelerate the representation of women in leadership positions in STEM.

Ann Sherry AO, Convener of MCC STEM, said the under-representation of women in STEM is a long standing issue in Australia.

Women make up only 16 per cent of those with STEM qualifications, despite making up more than half the population,” Ms Sherry said.  “Once qualified, women in STEM employment find it difficult to progress. Only 12 per cent of women in STEM are high income earners compared to 32 per cent of men. With the MCC STEM, we have an unprecedented opportunity for powerful men to step up beside women and create change.”

During the six years that Male Champions of Change has been in operation, Convenor, Elizabeth Broderick AO, said they had found that if you don’t actively and intentionally include women, the system will unintentionally exclude them.

“This is particularly relevant for STEM,” Ms Broderick said. “Collectively the MCC STEM are responsible for over half a million employees and billions of dollars of annual spend. By taking disruptive action that challenges the systems that are holding women back, we can have real impact.”

Greg Hunt, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, said STEM is vital to Australia’s economy and the Turnbull Government is committed to supporting women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

“We know that women are still under-represented in many areas of science, technology, engineering and maths. We want to promote and support women as entrepreneurs and innovators.”

The STEM Male Champions of Change members are:

  • Spencer Beasley, Vice President, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Peter Coleman, CEO, Woodside Energy
  • Alan Finkel, Chief Scientist, Australian Government
  • Mike Foster, CEO, Fujitsu Australia
  • Gavin Fox-Smith, MD, Johnson & Johnson
  • Peter Høj, Vice Chancellor, UQ
  • David W Kalisch, Australian Statistician, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Larry Marshall, CEO, CSIRO
  • Adi Paterson, CEO, ANSTO
  • Tim Reed, CEO, MYOB
  • Brian P Schmidt, Vice Chancellor, ANU
  • Andrew Stevens, Chair, Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre
  • Giam Sweigers, Global Chief Executive, Aurecon
  • Alex Zelinsky, Chief Defence Scientist


Media inquiries: Brinsley Marlay 0412 084 015