Breaking the bias for women and girls through our programs

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8 March 2022

Our department is working to promote gender equality through a range of programs and initiatives. We are working on achieving gender equality by focusing on advancing women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and supporting women entrepreneurs.

Watch video highlights

[Music plays and opening image shows a text question.]

How is the Australian Government helping to move towards a more gender equal society?

[Image shows a moving pencil drawing an image of a girl, a URL appears at the top of the girl’s head: WOMENINSTEM.ORG.AU/FUTUREYou, and a text also appears next to the drawing.]

We support the Women in STEM Ambassador implement initiatives to increase women’s participation in STEM.

Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith: Our goal is to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM education and careers.

[Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith shows up on the screen continuing to talk about the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador’s initiatives. Her title, name and position appears: ‘Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Women in STEM Ambassador’.]

Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith: And to do so we’re focusing firmly on an evidence-based form of action.

[Image changes to women in a room talking amongst themselves in a workshop, followed by another image of girl students in a classroom in discussion, then another image of a teacher talking with her students in a classroom. Text appears with the images.]

We make more women in STEM visible by funding the Superstars of STEM initiative.

Dr Kiara Bruggeman: It’s all about moving forward and solving problems.

[Dr Kiara Bruggeman appears on the screen with moving abstract images floating in the background. Her title and name appears: ‘Dr Kiara Bruggeman, Superstar of STEM’.]

Dr Kiara Bruggeman: So we are going to keep expecting better and better lives, and science is going to deliver that.

[Image changes to animated figure of a cylindrical shape turning into a small robot. Some text appears next to the robot.]

We support women founders of startups through the Boosting Female Founders initiative.

[Image of another animated figure of a different robot appears. On the left, the text, ‘Akin NASA robot’ appears.]

Liesl Yearsley: We are a deep, deep tech artificial intelligence company. We build AI that are really able to understand humans and solve complicated problems all by themselves.

[Image of Liesl Yearsley appears with her name and title: ‘Liesl Yearsley, Akin CEO’.]

Liesl Yearsley: So Boosting Female Founders has helped us in so many ways. I’ve been able to hire top level executives. We’ve been able to develop our distribution models and commercial systems, and we are now in hypergrowth.

[Image shows aerial view of trees and bushlands, text appears with the image.]

We encourage participation of girls and women in STEM through the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) grants.

[Image changes to Professor Retha Wiesner working with her computer in an office. Image changes to Professor Retha Wiesner standing with other women.]

Professor Retha Wiesner: I’ve been working in the space of advancing women through entrepreneurship for quite some time.

[Image changes to Professor Retha Wiesner talking with a prospectus about the Women in Rural, Regional and Remote Entrepreneurship (WiRE) Program in the background. Her title, name and position appears: ‘Professor Retha Wiesner, Founder and program director of the Women in Rural, Regional and Remote Entrepreneurship (WiRE) Program’.]

Professor Retha Wiesner: The impact of the WISE grant has been absolutely tremendous…

[Image changes to Professor Retha Wiesner walking towards a building, then changes again to her walking in a room where other women are seated having a discussion with her.]

Professor Retha Wiesner: … because it enabled us to establish a capacity-building program, plus research aspects around this program to advance women in their own businesses and help them actually grow their businesses.

[Image changes to Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger teaching a class in a university and some text appears.]

We recognise the achievements of women scientists in the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

[Image changes to Emeritus Professor Praeger talking. Her title, name, prize appears: ‘Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger, Recipient of the 2019 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science’.]

Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger: Receiving the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science is a wonderful statement about the importance of mathematics.

[Image changes back to Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger teaching students in a university classroom, then walking down stairs with students.]

Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger: It also recognises the achievements of me and my colleagues, and students in the mathematics of symmetry.

[Images changes to a montage of Professor Retha Wiesner, Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger, a woman taking samples by a pond, a female teacher with students in a classroom, students in a classroom with a robot, other students in various classrooms doing different activities and discussions, a female scientist looking through a microscope and investigating a sample in a petrie dish, hands writing text and word clouds on a paper. Liesl Yearsley’s voice is heard in the background.]

Liesl Yearsley: We are the first generation of women in human history to have the power and the agency that we have to go out and change the way our world does things. So let’s go out there, let’s be powerful role models, let’s show how it ought to be done.

[Image changes to a panel with words.]

These are just some of our initiatives supporting girls and women.

[Closing panel shows Australian Government crest, Australian Government and Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources stacked logo and a call to action text.]

Find out more: industry.gov.au/initiativesforwomen

Read about our programs

We implement and/or fund several programs and initiatives to deliver on outcomes set out in the Advancing Women in STEM Strategy and the 2020 Action Plan.

For example:

  • Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador was established in 2018 to advance gender equity in STEM in Australia. Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith is the current Women in STEM Ambassador. The Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador also delivers the Future You initiative, to challenge stereotypes in STEM.
  • Superstars of STEM program equips brilliant diverse women in STEM with advanced communication skills and opportunities to inspire the next generation to consider careers in STEM. The program aims to improve the visibility of women in STEM and smash gender assumptions on who can work in STEM.
  • The STEM Equity Monitor is a national data report on girls and women in STEM. The Monitor reports the current state of STEM gender equity in Australia, and measures changes and trends. It follows the participation of women in STEM through school, higher education, graduation and the workforce.
  • The Girls in STEM Toolkit (The GiST) is a website that provides resources to inspire and inform girls, schools, teachers and families in STEM. The website includes a career quiz with 21 multiple choice questions which helps girls find the STEM subjects and careers to match their interests based on their answers. Education Services Australia delivers the initiative.

We provide grants to fund projects that boost women participation in STEM and entrepreneurship:

  • The Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship program provides grants for projects that increase women’s and girls’ participation in STEM and entrepreneurship. Recent recipients of the grants included a project that will engage 600 First Nations girls (aged 14–24) in entrepreneurship.
  • The Boosting the Next Generation of Women in STEM awards provides funding to a single delivery partner to provide 500 university scholarships to women to retrain and bolster their STEM qualifications.
  • The Boosting Female Founders (BFF) Initiative provides grants (on a co-contribution basis) to majority women-owned and led startups to help them access the finance they need to scale into domestic and global markets. The program also provides access to expert mentoring to women entrepreneurs to help them scale and grow their startups. One of the recipients of the BFF grants has a startup (Planet Protector Packaging) that manufactures Woolpack. Woolpack is a sustainable insulated packaging used in the shipment of temperature sensitive food and pharmaceuticals.
  • The Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund (CSSPIF) supports innovative projects to diversify the cyber security workforce. In the second round, the fund was particularly interested in projects that could boost the participation of women and other underrepresented groups in the cyber security industry.

We also administer the Prime Minister's Prizes for Science, Australia’s most prestigious awards for outstanding achievements in scientific research, research-based innovation, and excellence in science teaching.  

Some of the outstanding women recipients from past years:

These are just some of the programs and initiatives our department implements or funds to ensure we are doing our part to advance diversity, inclusiveness and gender equality in our communities.

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