Seventy-five per cent of jobs in the future will require STEM skills, yet women currently occupy just 16 per cent of STEM jobs, according to a report from Australia’s Chief Scientist.
Australia is faced with not only the challenge of more equal gender representation in STEM, but with skilling young people for the future employment market.It makes financial sense: women represent half of the global population, so their participation in their workplace is vital to national productivity and economic growth.
Rebecca El-Khoury, TransGrid Regulatory Analyst, has qualifications in actuarial studies, applied finance, and economics; and an enthusiasm for inspiring young women to pursue STEM careers.
Rebecca recently spent four days mentoring a group of high-achieving female students at the 2018 University of Wollongong Women in STEM camp. The camp connects 15 and 16 year old students with professionals in STEM industries to help them better understand career pathways.
One of the greatest experiences of the camp was making the girls aware of the range of opportunities that they can pursue, explains Rebecca.
“One student who excels in science and sports was connected with a biometrics specialist. It opened a whole world of possibility, well before that student makes a decision about her university study and ultimate career path,” says Rebecca.
“For me, that is the key to the camp – helping educate young women about the opportunities that they can pursue professionally. There was nothing like this when I was at school. I didn’t consider becoming an engineer, partly because I just wasn’t aware of it as a pathway.”
“It’s fantastic for the girls to see female engineers, scientists and economists say: ‘We do exist and the career prospects are really great’,” says Rebecca.
Here at TransGrid, we support opportunities such as these to educate young women about career opportunities in non-traditional roles, as well as STEM more generally. It’s one way that we ‘press for progress’ on
International Women’s Day
, and all days of the year.
Reflecting on the experience of being a mentor at the camp, Rebecca is positive about the knowledge that the girls took away.
“There was a real thirst for knowledge and learning. A lot of the girls asked for advice about selecting a university degree, and the kinds of career pathways that might open up as a result.”
“Empowering girls to be leaders of change is vital. Any initiative that gives women the knowledge, resources and information to go into STEM roles is really good – particularly when it’s something they haven’t previously considered,” says Rebecca.
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Connecting women with non-traditional roles