Skip to main content

People, Culture and Ethics (Spotlight Brief 3/21)

8 June 2021

The content in this article is an extract of Spotlight Brief 3/21.

Using design thinking to cultivate the next generation of female STEAM thinkers

International Journal of STEM Education – Mar 21

Women only make up about 17% of all STEM qualified people in Australia. It is even less within engineering and professorial areas. Nor is the Australian Army an exemplar of women in STEM, as of 01 Apr 21 across our three technical Corps and all officers and soldiers, only 6.8% are women.[1] While this is an improvement on the past, thanks to some very good recruitment work, there is still further opportunity to consider innovative ways to attract women into these roles. It is important, because Army will need more STEM competent people in order to be truly Future Ready. This article looks at processes involving mentors, workshops and role models that seek to change the perception of STEM and attract more interest from women. While the ADF will remain constrained by the demography of the society it serves and its educational systems, there is a chance presented by the ideas in this article to see Army grow as a proponent of women in STEM and contribute even more to improving Australia’s workforce diversity, innovation and skills base.


‘Propel Her’, Grounded Curiosity, Various

‘STEM Women’, Australian Academy of Science, Various

‘It’s not lack of confidence that’s holding back women in STEM’, The Conversation, 15 Mar 21

‘Women in STEM: What Australia's tertiary educators are doing to achieve gender parity’, ZDNet, 07 Mar 21

‘STEM skills opportunities boosted through School Pathways Program’, Department of Defence, 25 Feb 21

Gender, Justice and Deliberation: Why Women Don’t Influence Peacemaking

International Studies Quarterly – Feb 21

Since the introduction of UNSC 1325 Women in Peace and Security, there has been an increase in female representation within various security processes. However, this has not coincided with an increase in influence, suggesting that simply increasing participation does not fully meet the intent of the Resolution. Denisa Kostovicova and Tom Paskhalis have analysed male and female speaking patters that came out of post-conflict justice debates for the Balkans. They found evidence that mechanisms of speech may contribute. Their research suggests that there is no qualitative difference. However, the method by which women talk, speech patterns, sentence length and ‘flow on to other speakers’ all work to constrain their participation and reduce opportunities for them to develop arguments and sustain concerns. Understanding this goes beyond peacemaking processes, it could be a consideration in team dynamics for any leaders who has men and women working together.


‘Gender and Women, Peace and Security’, United Nations Peacemaker, 24 Apr 21

‘Sculpting Conflict Resolution by Encompassing Women’, Modern Diplomacy, 30 Mar 21

‘It's Time to Acknowledge Men and Women Behave Differently’, University of Melbourne Faculty of Business and Economics, 19 Mar 21

‘‘Women as Peacebuilders and Agents of Change in the Maldives’ Report Launched’, United Nations Development Program, 09 Mar 21

‘Who won’t shut up in meetings? Men say it’s women. It’s not.’, The Washington Post, 18 Feb 21

Delivering treatment to morally injured UK military personnel and Veterans: The clinician experience

Military Psychology – Mar 21

Moral injury is a rising cause of mental illness among serving members and veterans. This article reviews work done across 15 clinics in the UK, and while a subtly different military and health system, offers avenues for pre-emptive and post-event treatments. At the clinical level, it may aid military health elements and leadership to build treatments and resilience. It finds that there is a difference between moral injury and threat-based trauma, which consequently requires different treatments. It also finds that there is significant risk to the clinician treating the injury, with the potential need for careful selection and training of clinicians in specific areas (including on the line between confidentiality and required reporting). The article finds  there are a number of precursor events that may lower resilience to moral injury and suggests these are out of the control.   It goes on to identify a lack of emotional preparedness for ethically challenging decisions, and an increased vulnerability at and immediately following separation, as areas that the British Army can actively work on to minimise risk.


‘Conquering the Ethical Temptations of Command: Lessons from the Field Grades’, Joint Force Quarterly, 31 Mar 21

‘Moral injury: the effect on mental health and implications for treatment’, The Lancet, 17 Mar 21

‘Veterans see positive changes in emotional resilience after intervention’, Mirage News, 09 Mar 21

‘Preparing for natural disasters’, Australian Psychological Society, 24 Dec 20

‘7 Ways Trauma Shapes Morality’, Psychology Today, 16 Dec 20

[1] RAE – 6.8%; RASigs – 10.8%; RAEME – 4.2%

The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

Using the Contribute page you can either submit an article in response to this or register/login to make comments.