Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM Workplaces
This project aims to identify effective, evidence-based initiatives for supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM workplaces. We employed a range of research methodologies to form recommendations for governments and organisations in their ongoing efforts to support equity and inclusion in the workforce.
This research was initiated on request from the Australian Minister for Industry, Science and Resources to inform the Government’s Diversity in STEM Review.
Through two streams of research, we seek to understand:
- which initiatives effectively retain and progress women and other under-represented groups in the STEM workforce.
- how to increase and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in STEM sectors.
Initiatives for Workplace Equity and Inclusion
Details: The research systematically reviewed the evidence about initiatives aiming to support diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforces. The research provides a data-driven overview of the types of initiatives that are and are not effective in improving workplace gender equity, anti-harassment, pay equity, and disability inclusion.
Our report, Initiatives for Workplace Equity and Inclusion: A series of rapid systematic reviews of the peer-reviewed literature, synthesises the results of over 11,000 peer-reviewed articles and provides evidence-based recommendations for effectively advancing progress towards equity and inclusion in Australia’s STEM workplaces.
Cite the report as: Office of Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador (Bergman,* Ratcliffe,* Harvey-Smith, Williams) (2023). Initiatives for workplace equity and inclusion: A series of rapid systematic reviews of the peer reviewed literature.
* indicates equally contributing co-authors
Big Mob STEM It Up! Project
Team: Associate Professor Marnee Shay, Ren Perkins, Associate Professor Jodie Miller, Amy Thomson, Antoinette Cole, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Associate Professor Lisa A Williams
Details: Our office commissioned Associate Professor Marnee Shay to lead research to provide Indigenous informed recommendations on how to promote Indigenous participation in STEM and break down barriers that have historically hindered representation in the field.
The Big Mob, STEM it Up! project combines rigorous research approaches with meaningful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to gain an Indigenous voice on pathways in STEM. By listening to the stories of Indigenous people who have excelled in STEM despite barriers, this research ensures Indigenous peoples are properly represented, valued, and actively engaged in the advancement of STEM disciplines.
The findings of these two streams of research are clear: National efforts should prioritise systemic modifications, not programs targeting individuals, to create lasting change.
Initiatives for Workplace Equity and Inclusion
Through systematic reviews we are rigorously gathering and analysing the evidence about best practice initiatives for workplace gender equity, anti-harassment, pay equity, disability inclusion, and gender and sexuality minority inclusion.
From our research we have derived three evidence-based key points for progressing workplace equity. These emphasise policies, accountability, evaluation, responsiveness, and systemic change. Namely,
- Prioritise policies for workplace equity and inclusion, and support with programs targeting systemic change.
- Change structures, not individuals, to ensure workplace equity and inclusion by default.
- Design and implement workplace equity and inclusion initiatives collaboratively and intentionally with ongoing reflection, assessment, and evaluation.
A team of research assistants including Dylan Barrett, Antonia Boulton, Shannon Eckhardt, Fun Kaoru Hui Sato, Kyle Morrison, Kate Nicholls, and Sarah Rubenstein supported this research.
Workforce Gender Equity Initiatives
We reviewed 4,928 peer-reviewed articles on initiatives aiming to support gender equity in STEM. The evidence provides insight into which workplace policies and practices are effective advancing for gender equity and how to ensure they are most effective.
Read Section 2 of our report for additional details.
Workplace Anti-Harassment Initiatives
From 496 peer-reviewed articles on workplace anti-harassment initiatives, we provide a summary about evidence-based approaches for organisations to cultivate workplaces in which bullying and harassment have no place.
Read Section 3 of our report for additional details.
Initiatives for Gender Pay Equity
From a systematic review of 3,787 peer-reviewed articles on initiatives supporting gender pay equity, we provide recommendations for what governments and organisations can do to implement pay transparency policies that complement existing federal policies.
Read Section 4 of our report for additional details.
Initiatives for Disability Workplace Inclusion
We systematically analysed 2,866 reviews (i.e., an umbrella review) about initiatives aiming to improve the inclusion of people with disability in workplaces. The evidence base covers many types of initiatives for various types of disability and indicates the overarching features of initiatives organisations and employers must consider to effectively include people with disability in workplaces.
Read Section 5 of our report for additional details.
Initiatives for Gender and Sexuality Minority Inclusion in Workplaces
We are systematically reviewing the evidence about initiatives aiming to support the inclusion of gender and sexuality minorities in workplaces. Our findings will provide evidence-based insights about what workplaces should do to effectively ensure people within gender and sexuality minority groups are included.
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Big Mob: STEM it Up!
Led by Associate Professor Marnee Shay and her team at The University of Queensland, this arm of the project was an investigation of the strengths and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in understanding systemic and cultural barriers and facilitators to engagement in STEM jobs.
These research activities aimed to provide Indigenous informed recommendations on how to promote Indigenous participation in STEM and break down barriers that have historically hindered representation in the field.
The Big Mob: STEM it Up! project delved into the experiences and perspectives of Indigenous peoples in STEM across industry, community, and education via four activities:
- A systematic review of the literature regarding Indigenous participation in STEM.
- A community survey providing diverse Indigenous peoples with the opportunity to share their perspectives on STEM.
- A series of qualitative Interviews with Indigenous people working in STEM, to be published as a podcast. Details about the podcast can be found here.
- An international case study analysis.
About the artwork
“This artwork depicts the importance of collaboration between Indigenous communities and non-Indigenous communities within the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It speaks to the traditional ecological knowledge of Indigenous people, and how it can be integrated into modern practices of today.”
The artwork for the Big Mob, STEM it up! project was done by Naarm Artist, Tara-Rose Butterworth-Gonebale. Tara-Rose is a proud Wagiman Woman from the Western Suburbs of Naarm (Melbourne). She has been an exhibiting artist from as young as eight years of age and has worked in Aboriginal community services for the last ten years.
Tara-Rose is currently working with mob in the correctional space as an Aboriginal Mental Health Worker. You can see more work by Tara-Rose on her Instagram page or Facebook Page, or search for her using her username, @marlimarli_