Lowering the ATAR for women in STEM

The University of Sydney will award females bonus points and when applying to STEM based degrees, leapfrogging men with higher ATARs, in an attempt to attract more women to this field.

With the support of New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board and the national representative body Engineers Australia, UTS will offer ten extra points to females wanting to pursue a career in IT, construction or engineering, as long as the minimum for the ATAR has been met.

Research ambassador for the Space science and technology center, Renae Sayers says it is a bold move and an important move in the context of a sweep of initiatives designed to appeal to women.

Renae Sayers – Research Ambassador for the Space Science and Technology Centre.
Photo: Jordan Cook.

“Just because you may have a lower ATAR, you still have to perform,” she said.

“The whole point of attending university is to think and learning how to learn and applying this to your field.

“At no point would this change the output at the end and if employers are looking at girls differently because of this move, than that is an act of discrimination in itself.”

She says that diversity and gender equity in any field is essential to create an environment where everyone is accounted for.

Listen to what Ms Sayer has to say regarding gender equity and safety.

Recent Engineering graduate Marco Giovannini says he finds it offensive to lower the ATAR for woman to join STEM as he feels it goes against what equality means.

“It’s basically offends the intelligence of women saying that females are already not intelligent enough to pursue STEM and engineering degrees,”he said.

“The main problem is that engineering isn’t promoted at earlier stages and is falsely stereotyped as male dominated field.

The key to reaching equality is promoting the benefits and positives of pursuing STEM or engineering, not demeaning women by suggesting the prerequisites have been lowered to provide them with an equal opportunity.”

Have a listen to what a few Curtin University women think about the situation.

Categories: Education, General, Women

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