What 2019 Holds for Women in Australia Industry leaders are now holding themselves accountable to diversity standards, which will help change the workforce entirely

By Phillipa Rust

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When looking at the number of women working in technology, Australia ranks well. Bulgaria has the highest percentage of women in tech at 30 per cent, and Australia follows at a close second at 28 per cent. While this number should be much higher, it shows that Australia is a leader in the effort to encourage more women in the field.

The new year brings promising endeavours for women in Australia. There are more government initiatives and more company undertakings to embolden women in the workplace. Furthermore, the conversation is expanding as to why there are not more women in tech and how to remedy this problem. Here's a look at what the year holds for women in Australia.

Australia's first Woman in STEM Ambassador

Good news came at the end of 2018 that Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith will become the Women in STEM ambassador, the very first for Australia. The Ambassador will lead the government's efforts to encourage women and girls to study and work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Though this is a two-year appointment, one of the main goals will be to help drive cultural and social change for gender equity.

Government initiatives

The Office for Women is set within the Australian government "to progress policies and programmes to advance gender equality across Australia and ensure women feel safe and live without fear of violence." Initiatives in the office include grants and funding, support, and leadership opportunities. Currently, the Office for Women is accepting submissions to inform the Australian Government's specific priorities for the 63rd Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63).

Coming Together for More Female Founders

Last year, ahead of International Women's Day, many prominent venture capital groups in Australia came together to support female founders. They called the event "Office Hours" and devoted 20, one-hour slots to female founders in the Sydney area.

Efforts such as these, combined with the upward trend of female founders, bode well for the country. The number of female founders increased from 23.5 per cent to 25.4 per cent from 2016 to 2017. There is still much more work to be done, but these efforts indicate an upward tick and positive momentum.

The Year of Women

To make real waves in empowering women in 2019, more corporations can and should take part. Last year, Canva announced that their workforce is 42 per cent female, and 38 per cent of their iOS mobile team is now female. The company explained how diverse thinking contributes to the success of their business and shared a roadmap to empowering more women in the community.

There are also many more women speaking out and offering advice to the younger generations of females entering the workforce. Australia does lead in female empowerment in tech and the workplace, but there is still more to be done. The industry leaders are now holding themselves accountable to diversity standards which will help change the workforce entirely. The new year looks bright for women in Australia with empowering events and positive signalling statistics that show an upward tick in women in tech.

Wavy Line
Phillipa Rust

Director at The Intern Group (Australia)


Phillipa is the Director of The Intern Group's Australia division. The Intern Group provides international internship programs with the purpose to inspire and encourage people to believe in and challenge themselves, discover their passion and realize their potential.


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