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.

We've done our research

It’s easy to dismiss a problem that you think should have been solved by now. But the fact is women are still under-represented in STEM. For more information, take a look at some of these articles and papers on the gender divide in our workplaces.

Percentage of STEM workers by gender

Office temperature and gender

Draw a scientist study

CPR MANikin

STEM equity

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.

Read the research: Second national data report on girls and women in STEM

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?

Read the research: What we learn from 50 years of kids drawing scientists

Office temperature

It turns out that the temperature standards used in offices around the world were devised for men. The model to determine the ideal workplace temperature was developed in the 1960s based on the average worker of the era: a 40-year-old, 154-pound man dressed in a business suit.

This model was established before women made up half the workforce, and it doesn’t account for women’s physiological differences. Women’s metabolisms run about 35% slower than men’s, which means they also give off less body heat.

Read the research: Room temperatures set for men's comfort may disadvantage women, study finds

CPR

At first glance, it might not seem like the presence of breasts on a manikin matters that much. After all, CPR is CPR, right?

But, as it turns out, it does matter, especially in a non-hospital setting. Statistics have consistently found that women are far less likely than men to receive public CPR or have an AED applied to them during an emergency than men.

Experts have theorised that the reason behind the disparity is that because the majority of people out in the real world aren’t trained on how to do CPR on a person with breasts. They are then less likely to feel confident, able or willing to perform CPR or apply an AED when faced with the situation in real life.

Read the research: New CPR training tool has breasts and this is why it matters to women

Draw a scientist

The Draw-a-Scientist Test has become a classic piece of social science, and has been repeated many times over the intervening decades to understand how children perceive scientists.

But when David Miller, from Northwestern University, looked at the original data published in 1983, one trend leaped out. Of the almost 5,000 drawings produced within the study, just 28 depicted a female scientist - and all of those were drawn by girls. Not a single boy drew a woman.

Some critics have suggested that perhaps children just draw more men regardless, but Miller's research says that’s not true.

Read the research: What we learn from 50 years of kids drawing scientists

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.

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

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