Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (18:08): My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, and Minister for Small Business, the Honourable Jaala Pulford. This adjournment matter relates to the portfolio responsibilities of innovation, medical research and the digital economy. Victorian girls are reducing the gender imbalance in study numbers and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM. The differences in interest and confidence in STEM tends to appear at an early age. This is a huge concern for innovation and diverse thinking in STEM professions and research.
While more and more Victorian girls are pursuing STEM education, only 28 per cent of tertiary students enrolled to study in STEM fields are women. Being a scientist myself, I feel disheartened looking at these numbers. To help improve the participation of girls and women in STEM, the Andrews Labor government is backing multiple STEM-based programs, initiatives and events, working closely with industry and STEM organisations to support girls and women in school, university and the workforce. Under-representation of women and girls in STEM is a major impediment to our scientific potential. The Andrews Labor government has developed a STEM map to improve the visibility of STEM activities. There are over 175 programs in total. The action I seek from the minister is to direct her department with an update on what it is doing to promote the Women and Girls in STEM map to girls and women in my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region.