Member Corner

Why women in STEM need mentors. A geospatial perspective

Spatial Vision is addressing underrepresentation of women in the geospatial industry through their Women in Geospatial Scholarship in partnership with RMIT University, Australia.

WGIC Secretariat November 30, 2021
Why women in STEM need mentors – a geospatial perspective

In her recent blog, Spatial Vision’s Rhiannan Mundana writes about diversity. “As the only female to graduate in my geospatial cohort, I know first-hand what it’s like to be in a male-dominated environment. While things are changing, it’s not much different beyond the classroom. In fact, women+ make up less than 25% of the Australian Spatial Industry workforce. And there’s even less representation in positions of leadership. But it doesn’t have to be this way.” The under-represantation of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is currently a big topic.

Why are there so few women in geospatial?

When it comes to STEM professions, still, we have a fair way to go. And there are many potential reasons for this beyond gendered stereotypes. Interestingly, research suggests a lack of confidence in technical abilities is not one of them. Other issues may be contributing include the well-documented pay gap, and fewer opportunities leading to limited career success. Regardless, we do know a couple fo things. Supporting women in STEM prior to, during and beyond their studies is key to helping women succeed and stay in the field.

Mentoring women in geospatial

WGIC member Spatial Vision is addressing this underrepresentation of women in the industry. Their Women in Geospatial Scholarship is a partnership with RMIT University. The scholarship is awarded annually to a high-achieving undergraduate female student studying Geospatial Sciences at RMIT. Not only does this student receive a financial incentive to support their studies, but it also gives the student an ongoing one-on-one mentoring opportunity with female employees at Spatial Vision. Alongside her colleague Amanda (Mandy) Tyrer, Rhiannan Mundana is mentoring scholarship recipients. During these sessions they have built genuine and trusting relationships, encouraging our mentees to steer the direction of the sessions based on their interests and passions.