Gender Equity Instrumentalism and (Re)Building the Nation Through Innovation: Critical Reflections on Women in STEM Policy in Australia
In this chapter, a critical lens is applied to recent research and innovation policy in Australia on the issue of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It is argued that the innovation agenda driven by successive Australian federal governments over the last decade (2007–2017) has brought a renewed focus on women in STEM. This focus, while welcome, has been marked by a reframing of the issue from within a social justice and equity paradigm to a more instrumentalist innovation and knowledge economy labor force framework. Some implications of what we call the gender equity instrumentalism at work in policy discourse in Australia and elsewhere are then explored. Cautionary notes are drawn from feminist scholarship in the field of economic development and gender studies.
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