The Turnbull Government has announced $3.9 million in funding to 24 organisations to rollout projects that will encourage girls and women to study and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
The funding is the first round of the $8 million Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship grant program under the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
Women are underrepresented in STEM related studies and professions.
Only one in four IT graduates and fewer than one in 10 engineering graduates are women.
Women occupy fewer than one in five senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes, and are less than half the overall STEM workforce.
The Turnbull Government is committed to improving gender equity and boosting female participation in STEM fields.
A wide range of projects will receive funding, from building interest in STEM for primary school age students, to supporting post-graduates and women already pursuing STEM careers, and encouraging entrepreneurship among women.
Projects being funded include:
• Melbourne-based Girl Geek Academy – focusing on girls aged 5-8 years with one-day events, online training and ongoing support aligned with the National Digital Technologies Curriculum, increasing early awareness and participation in STEM and entrepreneurship education.
• Canberra-based CBR Innovation – for 10 week programs for girls in Canberra and the surrounding region that include skills workshops, career presentations, field trips and female STEM mentoring.
• Geelong Manufacturing Council – developing careers for women from the Geelong area in manufacturing and engineering through presentations, workshops, networking and mentor training as part of transitioning the region’s industrial base from fabrication to advanced manufacturing.
• Verco Engineering – from Clare, South Australia, will offer 11 workshops aimed at up to 1000 year 9 and 10 girls in regional SA. The project is built around applying STEM subjects and principles and new technologies to increasing productivity in rurally based jobs.
The projects are part of a concerted, national effort to overcome the cultural, institutional and organisational factors that discourage girls and women from studying STEM and choosing careers that require STEM skills.
Applications for a second round of the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship program will open in 2017.
For details on all projects funded see www.business.gov.au/womenSTEM