Defence has reaffirmed its commitment to gender equity, partnering with the Australian Academy of Science to support the inaugural Catalysing Gender Equity conference.

Held in Adelaide from February 20-21, the event aims to accelerate transformative and sustained change within the STEM sector to achieve true gender equality.

It has attracted high-profile advocates of women in STEM, including Professor Caroline McMillen, the Chief Scientist of South Australia; Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of the SMaRT Centre UNSW Sydney; Dr Larry Marshall, CEO of CSIRO, and the Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro.

The Defence STEM council, chaired by Professor Monro, is spearheading the push towards gender equity across the Defence enterprise.

“Defence is reliant on our STEM workforce to deliver a technology-edge,” Professor Monro said.

“To enable us to meet the Defence and national security challenges of today and the future, it’s critical that we build a world-leading STEM-capable workforce.

“And we can only build a world-leading STEM-capable workforce if we increase the depth and diversity of the talent pool. Increasing the participation rate of women is critical to achieving that.”

The conference is focusing on tangible actions and initiatives that can bring about change.

Further demonstrating its commitment to achieving gender equity, Defence has joined a long list of eminent institutions that have signed up to be champions of the Women in STEM Decadal Plan, a shared vision for the STEM sector to attract, retain and advance girls and women in STEM education and careers.

Defence has committed to champion the plan by publicly aligning its gender equity actions with it.