Women in STEM

By creating a more diverse team of researchers, leaders and professionals, we'll open doors to new opportunities for women in STEM, and provide new perspectives.

To improve the progression and retention of academic women in STEM, we offer a program to provide support networks, remove barriers and biases, provide better access to leadership positions, and actively involve senior staff.

We hold workshops to improve organisational culture, and provide women with career mentoring, training and development workshops, and opportunities for leadership shadowing and deputising.

To support the next generation, 50% of QUT Excellence scholarships in STEM are offered to women.

We support women in STEM to flourish and achieve their potential, from undergraduates to postgraduates, researchers, and a wide range of career professionals.

28% of STEM workers are women

Female and male students are equally capable of achievement in high school STEM subjects however just over one in four STEM workers are women. Women make up roughly 50% of the population and by limiting their input we limit innovation.

Research demonstrates that socially diverse groups are more innovative than homogeneous ones. Interacting with people with differing viewpoints can encourage those within established institutions to prepare better, work harder and anticipate challenges. The resulting innovation benefits individuals and produces better outcomes.

Women are just as capable, clever, and gifted as men working in STEM. We can all go further by ensuring equal representation of women and people of diverse backgrounds in STEM spaces.

Excluding women from research puts women at risk

Research done by men tends to focus on men. This is a problem because it leads to worse outcomes for women, for example testing vehicle airbags on test crash dummies based on the average adult male body put women drivers at 17% higher risk of death in a crash.

The long-term exclusion of women as test subjects often results in negative outcomes for women, for example, a higher misdiagnosis of heart disease. Testing medicines exclusively on men as test subjects can lead to incorrect dosages or inappropriate treatments for women.

Increasing the participation of women in STEM, and broadening the focus of research, benefits everyone and will significantly improve health outcomes for women.

Picture a scientist? Did you picture a man?

Marie Curie discovered radium, polonium, and coined the term radio-active. Ada Lovelace published the first algorithm and is recognised as the first computer programmer. Dorothy Hodgkin mapped the structure of penicillin allowing researchers to better manufacture life-saving drugs. Katherine Johnson was a NASA mathematician who helped put astronauts on the moon. Mileva Einstein was a physicist who received higher grades than her husband Albert while studying at the Polytechnic Institute in Zurich.

The contributions of women in STEM have already shaped the world we live in. How much further can we go if we support the current generation of women in STEM?

Men outnumber women 3 to 1 in university leadership roles

Professor Margaret Sheil is the Vice-Chancellor and President of QUT. She has been an academic in chemistry, a dean of science and a Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Wollongong. On International Women’s Day, Prof Sheil tweeted in response to an article which quoted that men outnumber women in university leadership roles:

“@qut we have female chancellor, deputy chancellor, vice chancellor, university registrar, deputy vice chancellor (education), 80% of deans, more than 50% of council and 50% university executive plus indigenous members of council, senior team and university executive. #IWD2021”

QUT is leading the change we want to see in STEM by developing and implementing practices to become the most gender-equitable university in Australia.

Become what you see

Ready STEM Go! is a YouTube series exploring the adventures of our STEM alumni.

Join current student Mackenzi Oliver as she dives into our graduates' projects and discovers the paths they have followed to be where they are today.

Get inspired, engage in conversations, and discover the passion that could lead you to your career in STEM.

Professor Margaret Sheil AO, Vice-Chancellor and President

Women in research careers

Our researchers work in key STEM areas, aiming to solve some of the major challenges facing society and the planet, such as:

  • sustainable development and climate change
  • energy and food security
  • an ageing population and chronic disease
  • information dissemination and security.

The STEM Education Research Group draws on a range of approaches to evaluate the major issues facing teaching and learning in STEM, understand how young people engage with STEM concepts, and inform policy to improve the STEM capabilities of teachers and students.

We're seeking to improve outcomes for women in STEM careers, with a strong focus on supporting research and innovation.

An advocate for women in STEM and a former CEO of the Australian Research Council, QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil AO shared her vision and insights in a speech given at a previous QUT International Women's Day event.

A way forward

Your STEM career starts here

Think about the future. What issues do we need to address, as a society, to ensure longevity? Climate change. Water scarcity. Food shortages. Species extinction. Affordable housing.

A predicted 75 per cent of future occupations needing STEM literacy, which means that a skilled STEM workforce is central to addressing these complex issues now and into the future.

Learn more about studying STEM at QUT


23 Jul 2021

Research facility focused on value-adding Queensland resources

A QUT research and industry partnership that will build Queensland’s capacity in producing critical minerals for battery and renewable energy systems marked a milestone this week with construction underway on the $3 million Redlands Research Facility.

21 Jul 2021

QUT space scientist is 2021 Queensland Tall Poppy

Dr David Flannery has been announced as 2021 Queensland Tall Poppy for his work exploring life on Mars.

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