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STEM women encouraged to send a selfie to challenge stereotypes


A #STEMSelfie event will be held this afternoon to celebrate women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The #STEMSelfie campaign encourages women working or studying in STEM to take a selfie and post it on social media using the hashtags #STEMSelfie and #WomenInSTEM.

The campaign challenges the stereotype of what a scientist, tech expert, engineer or maths professional looks like.

It also celebrates the contribution Australian women have made to STEM, highlighting the importance of creating an inclusive space for women and girls wanting to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or maths.

Almost 80 women from a range of STEM industries and roles have contributed their photo to the campaign.

STEM selfies will be on display at today’s afternoon tea and the Minister for the Status of Women, Zoe Bettison, will be speaking at this event.

The event is being held in the lead-up to the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which is celebrated tomorrow (11 February 2017).

For more information about the #STEMSelfie campaign, and to see some of the selfies, visit


Increasing women’s participation in STEM study and employment is one strategy to improve the economic status of South Australian women.

Women continue to be significantly under-represented in STEM study and employment. Of the 2.7 million Australians with STEM qualifications in 2010-11, only 19% were women. In 2012, only 12% of CSIRO’s senior scientists and 9.8% of Australian engineers were women.

The South Australian Government’s women’s policy Achieving Women's Equality includes a focus on increasing the participation of women in STEM study and employment.

Today’s event will be hosted by BHP Billiton in conjunction with the Office for Women.

Minister for the Status of Women, Zoe Bettison said:

This #STEMSelfie campaign is an innovative way to raise the profile of women working and studying in science, technology, engineering and maths.

I encourage women in STEM to take a #STEMSelfie and join the campaign to showcase the wonderful contribution women and girls make to the industry.

Increasing the number of women studying and working in non-traditional female industries such as science and engineering is a priority for the government.

Highlighting the achievements and opportunities for women in STEM is an important way to encourage more women, especially young women, interested in pursuing a career into these fields.

Getting more women working or studying in STEM is another way we can continue improving the economic status and financial independence of South Australian women.

Jacqui McGill, Asset President, Olympic Dam, BHP Billiton said:

One of my favourites quotes is that you cannot be, what you cannot see – so today’s #STEMSelfie event is another way we are highlighting opportunities available to young women across science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

I’m proud Olympic Dam was the first BHP Billiton business to reach 50% gender balance on its leadership team, with our Head of Finance and General Manager for Surface operations just a couple of the incredibly talented women I work with.

BHP Billiton recently committed to the goal of achieving gender balance in our business by 2025, and at Olympic Dam, we’re working hard every day to ensure this vision becomes a reality.

It is my hope that campaigns such as #STEMSelfie helps us not only challenge stereotypes, but to attract more women who are engineers, technology experts, scientists or a maths wiz to want to work in a mining operation such as Olympic Dam.

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Provided by:
SA Department for Human Services
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
28 Jan 2020
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