Take action

The issue

The Leadership is a film about Women in STEM, Leadership and Gender Equality but is also an authentic portrait of the challenges many women face across all sectors.

Issues covered in the film include discrimination and inequality, the gender pay gap, the maternal wall, sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace, imposter syndrome, climate change and the need for the best minds at the table to solve our climate crisis, and lack of opportunities for CALD and ATSI women.

Despite valiant efforts spanning decades, gender equity across science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) has remained stubbornly intractable. As the film shows, it is not up to the women to fix these issues – these are systemic issues that government, companies and organisations must address, or we risk losing generations of women who were inspired to enter STEMM, but who fail to thrive and cannot stay.

“With estimates that 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations require STEM skills, Australia will depend on a workforce that has necessary STEM capability to drive innovation and competitiveness in the global economy.1

The facts

In Australia women comprise 27% of the overall STEM workforce. Australian women comprise 50% of science PhD graduates, but only 20% of senior academic leaders. Women’s lack of visibility and retention in the Australian STEM workforce signifies significant gender inequality.

Women are 50% of the workforce in Australia but only 18.3% are CEOs. The lack of representation of women at senior levels confirms unconscious bias and can lead men to being less committed to gender equality.

In Australia, the gender pay gap is now sitting at 14.2%. in STEM, the latest figures show the gender pay gap is even wider at 24.4%, more than 10% higher than the national average.

43% of women leave full-time STEM employment when they become a parent. New mothers are more likely than new fathers to leave STEM, to switch to part-time work, and to exit the labour force. These gender differences hold irrespective of variation by discipline, race, and other demographic factors.

39% of women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the past five years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to have experienced workplace sexual harassment than people who are non-Indigenous (53% and 32% respectively).

Impact campaign

Using The Leadership film as our key advocacy tool, we are working with with Government departments, Universities, Companies and NGOs to facilitate discussion and support measurable strategies to address gender inequality in STEM, and beyond.

Our allies include

Australian Academcy of Sciences
Cool Australia

Theory of change

Our Impact Campaign includes hosting screenings, panel discussions, facilitating workshops and sharing resources to support our partner’s efforts to effect real social change.


An Australia that has 50/50 gender representation in government, business and community.


Prompt systemic change to ensure inclusive and safe workplaces
for women in STEMM and beyond

Stage 1: 2020 - Strategy Screenings and Film Release

These are screenings with small groups of partners and decision makers to guide us on the specific needs of the organisations who support Women in Stemm and are fighting for gender equality.

Stage 2: 2021 Partner Initiatives and Educational Resources

These  are Q&A event screenings to our partners’ staff, constituents and supporters and will be rolled out after the film release to promote the impact campaign and launch of our educational resources.

Stage 3: 2022 – Professional Development and Government Lobbying

This is the release of our Professional Development materials and will also include the Parliamentary screenings and other activities with key partners to lobby government leaders for change.

10 things you can do

Share the Facts on Issues Impacting Women in STEMM

In 2018 and 2019, women at Homeward Bound embarked on a mission to uncover the truther about diversity in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). The result is a published paper and a Gender Fact Sheet summary. As these undeniable facts highlight, we have a long way to go to achieving equality. It’s time to give women in STEMM a bigger voice. Share these facts with everyone you know.  Shout it loud.

Help Make Female Scientists Visible

Wikipedia is the 5th most visited website in the world, yet only 17% of the people profiled on Wikipedia are women. The Franklin Women Wikipedia Edit-a-thon is an annual event that works towards closing the content gap on wikipedia. They have put together a number of practical resources together to help anyone edit wikipedia content to close the content gap. They also provide some brilliant, shareable infographics summarising the content bias.

Increase Representation of Women in STEM Courses in NSW

This change.org petition is calling on NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to increase representation of women in STEM courses. NSW students in Year 11 or Year 12 Science are learning about nearly 80 male scientists, but only 2 female scientists. This bias in the curriculum conveys to students that a career in science is most appropriate only for men. It incorrectly implies that women have rarely made significant contributions to the field.

Create Small Wins for Gender Equality

Stanford University’s Byers Center for Biodesign adopted a “small wins” model of change that focuses on setting and achieving narrow, attainable goals to produce a sense of success that is contagious and builds momentum for larger gains and systemic transformation. They’ve identified 10 small wins organisations can undertake immediately to help build a staircase that will lead to larger success.

Improve Pay Equity Between Women And Men In Your Organisation

This guide from the WGEA will help you diagnose the status of pay equity in your organisation, set goals, and take practical steps to improve pay equity as part of your gender equality strategy. This guide will also assist you in improving against reporting matters under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, and in meeting the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality criterion.

How to Make Your Organisation Culturally Diverse

This is brilliant toolkit will not only give you resources about particular topics surrounding cultural diversity in the arts, but also actions that you can implement. Topics covered include: Anti-Racism, Cultural Consultation, Programming and Commissioning, Policy, Evaluation and Monitoring, Acknowledgement of Country and more coming soon. These toolkits also provide research and resources relating to each topic.

Help Bridge the Gap in Gender Equality

‘When Will She Be Right?’, is a powerful new campaign from UNWA that focusses the spotlight firmly on gender inequality in Australia, with an ambition to change the status quo here and around the world. The initiative turns the popular Aussie idiom, “she’ll be right”, into a compelling question of not only how we will achieve gender equality, but also crucially, when. Share it and support UN WOMEN’s important work.

Prevent and Respond To Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

This report from Champions of Change Coalition provides insights, practical actions and resources that aim to disrupt the system on how sexual harassment is managed in the workplace. It’s a bold and ambitious approach and work in progress that they will continue to refine, but it’s clear the current system is not working and new and different thinking is required.

Lobby The Australian Parliament For Policy Change

If you’re looking to make a difference in the lives of women by advocating directly to parliamentarians, then this tool kit is for you. The advice and information you’ll find here is drawn from the experiences of parliamentarians and advocates. It is a collection of practical tips and policy building advice that will help you shape policy for the better.

We'd love to hear from you.