Across all of Asia-Pacific, Australian girls between 15 and 19 years old are the least interested in studying or pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM).
The results are from MasterCard’s inaugural “Girls in Tech” research that interviewed 1560 girls aged 12 to 19 across six markets in APAC.
China (76 per cent) and India (69 per cent) had the highest uptake of STEM subjects.
Research revealed that Australian girls had a general lack of interest in the subject (37 per cent) and found the topics to be difficult (32 per cent).
Also, 84 per cent of the Australian girls surveyed, said that creativity was a desirable personal trait or skill and only 40 per cent felt that girls who study STEM are innovative.
Additionally, only 3 in 10 Australian girls said they know a female role model outside of their immediate family working in STEM and less than 2 in 10 know of a female public figure in the field.
Australian girls currently pursuing STEM studies suggested the best way to encourage more girls to pick STEM was to feature more successful role models (26 per cent) and accentuate the attractive pay (24 per cent).
MasterCard group head of communications APAC, Georgette Tan, said MasterCard’s existing research aims to question why girls are consistently underrepresented in these fields.
“The study shows that to get more girls interested in STEM we need to promote female role models and parents must help to build the confidence of their children. We must correct the misconception that STEM careers can’t be creative and help build that next generation of women leaders in STEM,” she added.
In 2014, MasterCard launched Girls4Tech in APAC, an education program showcasing MasterCard’s payment technology. It also looks to engage employees as role models and mentors to generate encouragement among young Australian women.
The program was launched in Australia in September 2015 and saw more than 40 girls from Willoughby Public School attend. In March 2016, Girls4Tech in a Day, was held at SCEGGS Redlands for more than 110 girls.
MasterCard division president Australasia, Eddie Grobler, said, “We are thrilled to bring our signature STEM curriculum to Australian schools. Our goal is to inspire young girls to pursue a STEM education and learn about the variety of possible careers.”