In the lead up to International Women’s Day (IWD), our Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Diamante says we need more than rousing campaigns, inspirational hashtags and rational argument to close the gender diversity gap in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
As a business owner, co-founder of the TechDiversity Awards, mother and Mayor, Cr Diamante, knows a thing or two about this year’s IWD theme, Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future.
IWD is held internationally on Wednesday 8 March and this year the theme was selected by UN Women Australia, to recognise the important role of women in STEM fields.
“Too often, women and girls feel that they are not welcome in STEM because of the discrimination they face and the barriers to entry,” the Mayor said, adding that according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity.
“As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt, closing the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years. This is a sobering thought. Across the globe, women have lost ground in accessing the same opportunities that are open to men, and they are far more limited in their ability to fulfil their social and economic potential.”
Cr Diamante says this is especially true in the tech industry, which also offers the largest and broadest skills and jobs opportunities for the future.
“Only 23 per cent of employees in the Australian tech sector are women and this is down from 35 per cent in the 1980s … meanwhile, Australia has a critical shortage of tech, data sciences, cyber security and digital skills, amongst others. We need committed leaders that lead by example and personally oversee a workplace culture that enshrines equality, respect and inclusiveness across their organisations.”
This year, we'll be celebrating IWD with a morning tea at a booked-out event in our Function Centre. The event was organised with guidance from our Gender Equality and LGBTIQA+ Advisory Committee, which includes a diverse range of residents and local organisations.
The morning tea will have a strong focus on intergenerational collaboration, with young and young-at-heart encouraged to mix and share ideas. It will feature a keynote speech from Ally Watson OAM, founder of Code Like a Girl, a social enterprise aimed at giving women and girls the skills to enter the technology industry. The event will also include a panel discussion about this year’s theme.
If you missed out on tickets to the Manningham morning tea, there are plenty of other ways to show your support. Head to UN Women Australia’s website to find out how you can get involved.
Image: Manningham Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Diamante and attendees at the 2022 International Women’s Day event, which had the theme #BreakTheBias.