According to Engineers Australia’s Women in Engineering report 48 per cent of Australia’s workforce are female, yet only 13 per cent of the engineering profession are female. This has to change.
Justine Romanis, National Manager for Professional Diversity and STEM at Engineers Australia sits down with inspiring women to discuss how we can move the dial as part of create’s Women in Engineering video series.
Courtney Freebody, Leader of Learning and Technology at Mater Dei Catholic College in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, is passionate about giving girls a better chance of success when it comes to STEM subjects.
Freebody, who wishes engineering had been promoted as a pathway when she was choosing a university degree, says it is important that girls are encouraged to embrace STEM from an early age.
“I loved maths at school, but I didn’t see engineering as an option,” she says. “I wish it had been an option for me back then, because I probably would have gone in that direction.”
Freebody channels this passion into her work at Mater Dei, where she runs a STEAM program and is currently planning a “Girls in STEM high tea”. This will involve girls in year 9 and 10 hearing from panellists who work in STEM fields and doing makerspace engineering challenges under the guidance of mentors.
“I’m hoping having female mentors, who are real people talking to them about their careers, will inspire them and show that engineering is a potential pathway,” she says. “How can students ever be exposed to engineering without teachers bringing in outside people, or engaging them in STEM-based activities and problem-solving challenges?”
Justine Romanis, National Manager for Professional Diversity and STEM at Engineers Australia, sits down with Freebody to discuss her program at Mater Dei and asks the big question: how do you promote STEM to girls in schools?