By Saskia Mathers
QUT is home to a number of clubs and societies for women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). STEM [in the western world] has historically been filled with, you guessed it, white cis males – yet for a sector tasked with designing, developing and delivering advancements for the human race and planet, diversity is insanely important.
From childhood to university to the workplace, we see a lack of females and gender-diverse people in STEM. The problem is societal and long-standing. At QUT, around 10% to under 20% of students studying degrees such as information technology (IT) or engineering are female. Even more worrying is the decrease from women beginning STEM degrees to graduating from them. Groups like Girls in Engineering Making Statements (GEMS), Women in Technology (WIT) and Women in Science (WIS) are crucial to supporting individuals through university and into their careers. Not only this, but they also play a vital role in uprooting gender-inequality further afield.
These clubs are not exclusively for women; they are a place for supporting women. By inviting males and all genders to participate in this, the benefits are unexpected and culture changing. The activities of our women-in-STEM clubs naturally showcase the importance of diversity, and this translates from university into the world. Through activities like supporting women in their studies, encouraging women to achieve in their careers, and providing opportunities for development, we are not only directly helping females. We are setting a standard of support and respect for any and all minority groups, to celebrate and realise the benefits of diversity in these fields. People take this into the future, and it is powerfully.
I commend all clubs, groups, and initiatives who are striving to improve diversity, and I encourage you to be involved.