The Australian Academy of Science is beginning to develop a 10-year plan on behalf of the Australian Government to increase the engagement and participation of girls and women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
The initiative, falling under the 2018-19 Budget promises, was announced jointly by Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews and Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and the Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer this week.
Minister Andrews said the 10-year plan, announced by the Government in the 2018-19 Budget and to be developed by the sector, would be a roadmap to create gender equity for STEM.
“Getting more girls and women studying and working in STEM is a priority for the Government. We made an investment in the Budget and this consultation is an important step,” she said.
“As the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology and a mechanical engineer – one of the first two female graduates from the Queensland University of Technology – I am passionate about this issue.
“Increasing participation in STEM by girls and women isn’t just about equity and individual opportunity: it is about the strength of Australia’s research and our scientific and business capability,” she added.
The government announced the 10-year plan in the 2018-19 Budget – one of a suite of new measures and $4.5 million in new funding to encourage more women to pursue STEM education and careers. This funding builds on previous investments made through the National Innovation and Science Agenda of $13 million.
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, said there are many talented women already working or studying in STEM careers and there are great opportunities to boost women in STEM.
“2018 Australian of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons, demonstrates just what can be achieved by women in STEM,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“STEM skills are critical to future jobs and to Australia’s ongoing prosperity. We can’t compete with countries around the world with one hand tied behind our backs – we need all Australians to have the same opportunities to study and work in STEM related careers.
“We are developing this plan and funding new initiatives to address the underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM in schools, universities and the workplace.”