Advertisement

Gender Equity Instrumentalism and (Re)Building the Nation Through Innovation: Critical Reflections on Women in STEM Policy in Australia

  • Denise CuthbertEmail author
  • Leul Tadesse Sidelil
Chapter
Part of the International and Development Education book series (INTDE)

Abstract

In this chapter, a critical lens is applied to recent research and innovation policy in Australia on the issue of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It is argued that the innovation agenda driven by successive Australian federal governments over the last decade (2007–2017) has brought a renewed focus on women in STEM. This focus, while welcome, has been marked by a reframing of the issue from within a social justice and equity paradigm to a more instrumentalist innovation and knowledge economy labor force framework. Some implications of what we call the gender equity instrumentalism at work in policy discourse in Australia and elsewhere are then explored. Cautionary notes are drawn from feminist scholarship in the field of economic development and gender studies.

References

  1. Australian Human Rights Commission. 2017. “Change the Course: National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities.” https://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/document/publication/AHRC_2017_ChangeTheCourse_UniversityReport.pdf. Accessed August 8, 2017.
  2. Bell, S. 2010. Women in Science: The Persistence of Gender in Australia. Higher Education Management and Policy 22: 47–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blickenstaff, C.J. 2005. Women and Science Careers: Leaky Pipeline or Gender Filter? Gender and Education 17 (4): 369–386.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09540250500145072.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. CEDA (Committee for the Economic Development of Australia). 2016. “Australia Urgently Needs a National Strategy for STEM.” Report on CEDA Forum. http://www.ceda.com.au/2016/07/19-july/economic-growth-requires-greater-female-workforce-participation. Accessed August 13, 2017.
  5. Chief Scientist. 2016. “Australia’s Stem Workforce: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” http://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/Australias-STEM-workforce_full-report.pdf. Accessed October 8, 2017.
  6. Commonwealth of Australia. 2015. “National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA).” https://www.innovation.gov.au/page/national-innovation-and-science-agenda-report. Accessed October 7, 2017.
  7. Cuthbert, Denise, and Tebeje Molla. 2015. “The Politicization of the PhD and the Employability of Doctoral Graduates: An Australian Case Study in a Global Context.” In Twenty First Century Work Place Skills and Learning Competencies: Continued Change in Asia Pacific Higher Education, edited by Deane E. Neubauer and Kamila Ghazali, 95–112. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Cutler, Terry. 2008. “Venturous Australia. Building Strength in Innovation.” http://www.voced.edu.au/content/ngv%3A12472.
  9. Department of Commerce (US). 2011. “Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation.” Report by the Economics and Statistics Administration. http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/womeninstemagaptoinnovation8311.pdf. Accessed October 7, 2017.
  10. Dobson, Ian. 2012. “Unhealthy Science? University Natural and Physical Sciences 2002 to 2009/10.” A Report Commissioned by the Chief Scientist of Australia. Network for Higher Education and Innovation Research, University of Helsinki, Finland; Centre for Population & Urban Research, Monash University, Australia.Google Scholar
  11. Healy, J., K. Mavromaras, and R. Zhu. 2013. “The STEM Labour Market in Australia. Contributing Consultant Report to ‘STEM: Country Comparisons’ Project.” National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University, on Behalf of ACOLA. Australian Office for the Chief Scientist, Canberra.Google Scholar
  12. Marginson, S., R. Tytler, B. Freeman, and K. Roberts. 2013. “STEM: Country Comparisons: International Comparisons of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education. Final Report.” https://www.acola.org.au/PDF/SAF02Consultants/SAF02_STEM_%20FINAL.pdf. Accessed August 20, 2017.
  13. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. 2007. “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.” National Academic Press. https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/618/2015/11/Rising-Above-the-Gathering-Storm.pdf. Accessed August 6, 2017.
  14. National Science Board (US). 2014. “Revisiting the STEM Workforce: A Companion to the Science and Engineering Indicators 2014.” http://users.nber.org/~sewp/papers/nsb%20revisiting%20stem%204-15.pdf. Accessed August 13, 2017.
  15. Osborn, M., T. Rees, M. Bosch, C. Hermann, J. Hilden, J. Mason, A. Mclaren, R. Palomba, L. Peltonen, C. Vela, D. Weis, A. Wold, and C. Wennerås. 2000. Science Policies in the European Union: Promoting Excellence Through Mainstreaming Gender Equality. A Report from the ETAN Network on Women and Science. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.Google Scholar
  16. Pearson, W., L.M. Frehill, and C.L. McNeely. 2016. Advancing Women in Science an International Perspective. Cham: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  17. Professionals Australia. 2015. “Women in STEM in Australia: What Is the Current State of Play, What Are the Key Issues and Why Does It Matter?” http://www.professionalsaustralia.org.au/professional-women/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2014/03/WOMEN_IN_STEM_v2.pdf. Accessed March 28, 2018.
  18. Roberts, Kelly. 2014. “Engaging More Women and Girls in Mathematics and STEM Fields: The International Evidence.” Report commissioned by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute. http://amsi.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/RobertsGenderSTEMreport2014.pdf. Accessed October 7, 2017.
  19. Roberts, Adrienne, and Susanne Soederberg. 2012. “Gender Equality as Smart Economics? A Critique of the 2012 World Development Report.” Third World Quarterly 33 (5): 949–968.  https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2012.677310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Royal Society. 2010. “The Scientific Century: Securing Our Future Prosperity.” https://royalsociety.org/~/media/Royal_Society_Content/policy/publications/2010/4294970126.pdf. Accessed October 7, 2017.
  21. Ruppanner, Leah. 2017. Census 2016: Women Are Still Disadvantaged by the Amount of Unpaid Housework They Do. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/census-2016-women-are-still-disadvantaged-by-the-amount-of-unpaid-housework-they-do-76008. Accessed October 9, 2017.
  22. SAGE (Science and Gender Equity). 2017. “ATHENA-SWAN in Australia Website.” http://www.sciencegenderequity.org.au/what-is-athena-swan/. Accessed October 7, 2017.
  23. Science, Technology and Innovation Council. 2008. “State of the Nation: Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation System.” http://www.stic-csti.ca/eic/site/stic-csti.nsf/eng/h_00011.html. Accessed October 7, 2017.
  24. Razavi, Shahrashoub, and Carol Miller. 1995. “From WID to GAD: Conceptual Shifts in the Women and Development Discourse.” Occasional Paper 1. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, United Nations Development Programme.Google Scholar
  25. Turnbull, Malcolm. 2015. “Speech Reported in Daily Mail.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1213771/Never-exciting-time-Australian-Turnbull.html. Accessed October 7, 2017.
  26. UNESCO. 2000. Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge. Science Agenda – Framework for Action. Paper Presented at the World Conference on Science for the Twenty-first Century: A New Commitment, 26 June–1 July 1999 Budapest, Hungary.Google Scholar
  27. UNESCO (Bangkok Office) and Korean Women’s Development Institute (KWDI). 2015. “A Complex Formula: Girls and Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Asia.” UNESCO, Bangkok. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002315/231519e.pdf. Accessed August 13, 2017.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations