Whether you were one of the inspired people who attended a Vogue Codes event, or simply followed our coverage online, you probably gleaned the overarching message – we want to encourage and support women to pursue a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). But after the events have wrapped and the gift bags have walked out the door, what more could we all be doing to help make this a reality? Off the back of Vogue Codes, we quizzed both Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edwina McCann and Westpac’s Chief Information Officer, Anastasia Cammaroto, on exactly this. Here, the two women discuss how they use their networks to demonstrate how a career in STEM can be attainable, interesting and incredibly rewarding. We hope you can be inspired by this to use your own networks to make positive change.

What is the importance of STEM in the modern workforce?

Anastasia: “Between November 2013 and November 2018, employment in STEM occupations grew by 16.5 per cent in Australia, which is 1.6 times higher than the growth rate in non-STEM jobs. However, women represent only 39.7 per cent of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related jobs. Women continue to be underrepresented in STEM – which we need to change to ensure we are creating a future workforce that is diverse and confident.”

Edwina: “Technology touches more roles and careers than ever before, and in fact continues to open up whole new areas of opportunity. There are very few modern careers that do not include technology – marketing, design and publishing included – and this is something to celebrate.”

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Anastasia, what is the Westpac STEM commitment?

Anastasia: “The Westpac STEM commitment is a roadmap which captures each of the initiatives, programs, aspirations and partnerships we are driving, and tracks the change we seek to create in making STEM more attractive and accessible not only to women and young girls, but also to all Australians. It acts as a framework for change and demonstrates Westpac’s investment in the people, ideas and organisations that shape our nation.”

In what ways do you encourage women in your workplace to learn more about STEM?

Edwina: “I always encourage the Vogue Australia team to add a digital lens to their thinking about all our stories and events, so that we can create the best experience for our audience on all our platforms – print, digital and social. Our specialist digital team in particular creates our content strategy using the data and analytics available to them and I encourage them to share their learnings with the wider team.”

Anastasia: “I’m supportive of and involved with a range of initiatives and programs that help women and girls gain a first-hand look at what a career in STEM could look like. It is programs such as Westpac’s All SySTEMs Go! which help to foster the next generation of female scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. In striving to make STEM more attractive and accessible for girls, we have a host of initiatives which aim to provide girls with the tools, knowledge and support to enter and flourish in the world of STEM.”

In what ways do you use these concepts in your own role?

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Edwina: “Technology has allowed me and the wider Vogue Australia team to reach a much larger audience than was ever possible, and also to know and understand that audience, and have real time access to their responses to our work.”

Anastasia: “I lead the Information Technology team in my current role, which means understanding technology is at the core of my role. To get here I’ve been exposed to, and acquired a diverse range of skills through a variety of roles in STEM including engineering, IT strategy and design.”

Why can a career in STEM be so rewarding?

Anastasia: “It is no secret that roles in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are shaping the way of the future both in Australia and across the globe, and being part of that journey is incredibly rewarding. I chose a career in STEM as I wanted a role that would challenge, excite and allow me to constantly learn. I am proud to say my experience to date has ensured I have remained as passionate about technology today as I was over 20 years ago.”

Edwina: “I believe a career in the field of technology can be rewarding for its ability to drive change and shape the future. It’s always exciting to be at the forefront of any industry, and an understanding of technology adds that edge.”

Why do you feel all women and girls should strive to commit to learning more about these subjects?

Edwina: “I feel strongly that it’s critically important for girls and women to embrace technology and the learning behind it, so that we can play a role in our shared digital future. Of course we want women to be decision makers and influence the direction of our society; and this means engaging with the technology that’s driving change.”

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