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Are Women Underrepresented in the Stem Field Essay

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Statistics show that women are under-represented in certain subjects in University in Australia.   This essay will explore the key academic areas in which women are shown to be under-represented, and the previous research outcomes regarding why this under-representation is occurring in our modern, supposedly ‘gender equal’ society.
According to research conducted by various academic authorities women are not as well represented as men within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects (Australian Academy of Science, 2013). Eccles (2007) suggested that women tend to place a higher value on health, sociology and humanities courses for their career choices as these fields are more supportive of a woman’s familial responsibilities, and as such there is a steady decline in the number of women who are entering into the STEM courses as part of their career advancement.   Could this be the main underlying reason for the under-representation of women in the STEM fields?  
According to the highereducationstatistics.deewr.gov.au website female enrolments in Australian Universities has increased from 399,485 in 2002 to 540,114 in 2012 which is an increase of approximately 35% in ten years.   Female enrolments into the STEM courses have steadily declined over this period. According to the DEEWR website in 2002 11,556 females enrolled in Information Technology courses; this number has dropped to 4,672 in 2012.   A decline of approximately 60% in ten years can be seen from the above figures.  
Though, in contrast to this, female enrolment into engineering courses has increased from 7,387 in 2002 to 9,264 in 2012, an increase of approximately 25%.   This could be attributed to the mining industry boom in Australia over the last ten years, and the subsequent need for specialised qualifications within the mining industry (Kanga, 2013).  
The statistics for female enrolments in health, sociology and humanities courses supports Eccles (2007) thinking...

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