The strong academic performance of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees could be better reflected in career outcomes by addressing access and post-graduation barriers, the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) reports.
New research, led by Dr Julie McMillan and funded by the NCSEHE, has found women commonly outperformed their peers in STEM subjects but were among other equity groups requiring targeted interventions during the transitions into, and out of, university.
“Entry rates to university for many equity groups are low, relative to national averages and non-disadvantaged groups,” Dr McMillan said. “However, our findings show that, for those from equity groups who do go to university, the proportion who choose a STEM pathway is similar to the national average.”
Although high numbers of students are enrolling in STEM fields, the research found equity group students in STEM had lower completion rates than those in other educational fields.
Women were found to be less likely to enrol in STEM courses than other students, with less than one in eight women who began university within this cohort enrolling in a STEM field. For those that did commence a STEM pathway, however, completion rates were high.
Read the full report, STEM Pathways: The impact of equity, motivation and prior achievement https://www.ncsehe.edu.au/publications/stem-pathways-equity-motivation-prior-achievement/