$6.7 million investment extends women in STEM initiatives

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11 February 2022

February 11 marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

In Australia, women make up only 28% of workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Australian Government is committed to improving gender equity in STEM education and careers. We are investing more in effective programs that support this goal.

Funding boost to advance women in STEM

Today, the Minister announced $6.7 million in additional funding to expand successful initiatives that address the under-representation of women in STEM.

New funding will extend:

These initiatives support the government to deliver on outcomes set out in the Advancing Women in STEM Strategy and the 2020 Action Plan.

  • $2 million over 4 years will extend the Superstars of STEM program that Science and Technology Australia (STA) will deliver.
  • $2.4 million over 2 years will ensure the important work of the Women in STEM Ambassador continues out to 2025-26. The government established the role in 2018 to advance gender equity in STEM in Australia. Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith is the inaugural Ambassador.
  • An additional $2.3 million over 4 years will expand the Ambassador’s Future You initiative. Future You helps 8–12-year-olds envision a future for themselves in STEM by showcasing diverse role models and career pathways.

Superstars shine bright to change the face of science

Superstars of STEM was born from a clear insight: it’s hard to be what you can’t see. This is evident in the report released today evaluating the impact of its 2019-2020 cohort of Superstars.

‘Women have the right – actually it’s a responsibility – to represent themselves and their communities and be part of the STEM conversation,’ says Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, one of the 2019-2020 cohort.

The program brings together a diverse collection of women STEM experts and helps them develop the skills and networks to build their public profiles. It aims to shift public perceptions around gender in STEM fields and inspire girls to pursue STEM careers.

‘It is very inspiring to see how each of us (with very different journeys, fields and family commitments) navigate through our careers,’ says Superstar Charis Teh.

The report highlights the program’s positive results when it comes to changing stereotypes, inspiring students and boosting women’s careers.

‘This program has truly empowered me,’ says Superstar Dr Devika Kamath. ‘The skills, experiences, and opportunities that I have gained have provided me with an ideal platform to nurture and encourage protégés.’

The new funding will develop an additional 120 women into future leaders in the STEM sector. Through the program, future Superstars will build their confidence and become highly visible role models.

Read the Superstars of STEM evaluation report on the STA website.

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