Defence targets 50% gender balance in key areas

The government has announced changes to enable Defence to implement a 50 per cent target for women’s participation across key research and innovation career pathways.

FILE PHOTO: Lachlan Symonds and Monique Hollick during the Buccaneer Main Mission Orbit simulation. The Buccaneer Main Mission cube-satellite, commonly known as a CubeSat, is a miniature satellite weighing around 9kg. With a 3m antenna, it uses a digital high frequency receiver to explore novel approaches for calibrating the JORN transmitting arrays. The CubeSat will be launched at the end of 2023 with assistance from the US Space Force. Photo by Peter Hoare.

The changes will apply to Defence’s APS science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) entry-level programs, including the STEM Cadetship Program and the research and innovation pathway of the Defence Graduate Program.

The programs currently have a women’s participation rate of 25 per cent.

Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite said increasing diversity and representation in these key fields would ensure more people could benefit from skills and employment opportunities [which, technically, isn’t true, because there’s no announcement of an increase in overall numbers – Ed].

“Increased STEM targets at Defence open significant opportunities for women to amplify our force’s capabilities,” Mr Thistlethwaite said.

Defence will also set a 50 per cent target for women’s participation in the Navigate program.

Navigate will attract experienced STEM professionals from industry and academia, broadening the diversity of Defence’s APS workforce while providing participants with a unique experience and supporting them to thrive as STEM leaders.

“We’re backing efforts to attract STEM talent to Defence’s challenging, yet rewarding, field of innovation and technology.

“Navigate is our mechanism to build a team of top-notch specialists,” Mr Thistlethwaite said.

“Navigate, launched with explicit gender goals, underscores that determined participation targets bring tangible results.

“Participants typically complete two six-month rotations in different areas of Defence before securing full-time placement within Defence Science and Technology Group.

“This builds Defence-specific skills and supports individuals in discovering how they can contribute.”

The Navigate program received more than 800 applications from the public and private sector STEM community in 2022.

Defence set a target of 40 per cent women’s participation rate and achieved a rate of 43 per cent.

Navigate applications close June 25.







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Posted by Brian Hartigan

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7 thoughts on “Defence targets 50% gender balance in key areas

  • 25/06/2023 at 7:20 pm

    “… in key areas…” not nominated.
    Will we be advised what roles are not key? Is the plan to reduce the numbers of those engaged in non-key roles or have they all been aa”outsourced” to civilian contractors already?
    How would you feel being advised that you were ‘keyless’?

  • 25/06/2023 at 3:07 pm

    I sure as hell do not want the dumbest engineer to do the specs for my house because of quotas!! I want the best engineer, who is fit for purpose. There is absolutely no bias of any type in this statement. When did it become necessary to tag people?

    Why does Defence persist with not getting the best people irrespective of any other description. I have personally experienced women in Defence highly distressed about being promoted because they through they were promoted on gender and sexual orientation rather than merit. This, I feel, maybe the case for a lot of promotions, but if commanders focus on equity and merit, there will be much better outcomes all round.

    The other issue not raised is why is Defence not including intersex XXX. XXY, YYX etc. Surely these genetically different people should have the same opportunities as well? So sick of PC K-rap so CDF, etal can get their annual pats on the back. And again at the expense of the Sailors, diggers, and airmen (new PC aviators) on the front lines. Jackie Lambie, you go girl. You have my support 100%. Get the ICC to stand up a board of inquiry.

  • 25/06/2023 at 2:20 pm

    I have no issue with 50% being female so long as that 50% is not to the detriment of better fellows

  • 25/06/2023 at 1:18 pm

    Agreed with those two comments whole heartly. It’s all about political correctness and wokeism, unfortunately that’s the way it is in this 21st century and it’ll only get worse.

  • 21/06/2023 at 11:17 am

    The current gender ratio of S.T.E.M. Students in Australia mean that 50% of placements to Defence Science will now be given to 27% of the Graduates.

    The A.D.F. just made itself even dumber.

    This is just one more of the endless problems eating the Soul and Mind of the A.D.F, caused by so closely allying itself with the U.S. and it’s collective Cultural Insanity.

    ”Inter-operable” now means ”Gender Ratio standards” and we have now INCREASED our chance of K.I.A. for ”Cultural” reasons?

    It really seems Russell Hill and it’s bourgeois Denizens have nothing to do with nor any connection to, the average Digger, Australian, or even common sense.

    Not our Monkey.
    Not our Circus.

    Neutrality for Australia.


    • 25/06/2023 at 2:13 pm

      I presume that this idea has some connection with the CDF?
      The problem with gender targets is that in order to achieve the correct ratio some of the successful hiring may be below the published standards hence the talk elsewhere about dumbing down. Personally I am unable to attest to this but given the low number of females ( and I am a supporter of equal employment) the only way to achieve the proposed target will require the goal posts to be shifted.
      I may well be wrong and hope I am but…..

  • 20/06/2023 at 2:32 pm

    And that my fellow Australians is why defence cant attract enough keen men into the Armed forces. Instead Defence is and has been trying to attract women for some time.


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