Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Michaelia Cash and Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, have announced a $4.5 million package announced in the Budget last week to encourage more girls and women to study and undertake STEM careers.
According to the news announcement on the government’s website, the new initiatives build on the government’s existing work to address gender equity in STEM, and include:
- A Women in Science Strategy which will help coordinate the government’s efforts to increase women’s participation in science and technology.
- A Decadal Plan for Women in Science will allow the science sector to lead a comprehensive strategy to encourage more women to pursue studies and careers in STEM fields and reduce systemic and cultural barriers.
- A Girls in STEM Toolkit to help school-age girls understand what a STEM career can involve, and assist them to match their interests to a STEM career.
- A Women in STEM Ambassador who will advocate for gender equity in STEM, raise awareness of issues, prosecute the case for change, and build visibility and promote women in STEM.
The successful recipients of the second round of the government’s Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) grant program have also been announced, with twenty-two organisations across Australia receiving over $4 million in funding.
The projects target women and girls of all ages and backgrounds across Australia, from early childhood to mid-career entrepreneurs and scientists. They are designed to foster lifelong interest in STEM, encourage greater participation in STEM careers, and help female STEM professionals build entrepreneurial skills and networks.
Minister Cash said the government is tackling the national challenge of how to attract more girls and women to STEM studies and careers.
“We must draw on the entire skill set of our community and make the best use of the tremendous knowledge and skills of women researchers, engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs,” Cash said.