According to our latest STEM Equity Monitor data, women and girls make up less than a quarter of students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Women also represent only 13% of people employed in STEM-qualified occupations. They earn an average of $28,994 less than men. Participation rates and income levels are even lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse women.
Further to this, there are four key areas where more could be done to support women in STEM. They include information technology, engineering, entrepreneurship and intersectionality.
The latest round of Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WiSE) grants seek to bridge this gap.
The WiSE program will invest $2 million to catalyse change. Eight trailblazing WiSE projects will run across the country. These projects will nurture the next generation of women leaders in STEM and entrepreneurial activities. And, they will bring greater diversity across all fields.
WiSE grant projects include:
The University of Canberra will organise a ‘Biomechanics Research & Innovation Challenge: 100 girls, 100 stories, 100 Days’ project. It will provide opportunities for over 100 Australian high school girls to work with 25 early career women in biomechanists.
Young Change Agents will deliver design-thinking entrepreneurial workshops to Indigenous girls aged 14-24. The ‘Lighting the Spark’ project will run across Western Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Queensland.
Led by CSIRO, this project aims to engage Indigenous women and rangers. They will use digital technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis to manage their land.
In Victoria, Workforce Plus will organise the ’Change Makers of Gippsland’ project. The project will encourage women and girls to co-design solutions to locally-relevant STEM problems across renewable energy, circular economy industries and other areas.
The Creative Cooperative’s ‘Anyone Can’ project will enhance the visibility of successful women of colour entrepreneurs. It will also deliver culturally-appropriate education, events and guidance.
Robogals Ltd will deliver a comprehensive capability-building program to support primary school teachers. The project will engage and inspire girls in engineering, IT and related digital technologies.
Engineers Without Borders Australia Ltd will deliver their outreach program, ‘Engineers Without Borders Futur-neer’ to engage girls and foster more diversity in the profession.
Food Futures Company will increase entrepreneurial opportunities for Indigenous women. The project will focus on three stages of career development, including senior school years, university and TAFE, and native ag+food entrepreneurs and business owners.