$6.7m in funding to advance women, girls in STEM
Today (11 February) is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and the Australian Government is marking the occasion by announcing an additional $6.7 million in funding to help break down barriers to the advancement of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The investments are set to ensure the continued success of the Superstars of STEM program and to back the important work of the Women in STEM Ambassador, including the Future You awareness-raising initiative.
The government will invest $2 million in the Superstars of STEM program, delivered by Science & Technology Australia (STA), allowing 120 brilliant and diverse women in STEM to turbocharge their media profiles and career success over the next four years, helping to inspire the next generations of girls and young women into these crucial fields. An evaluation report highlighting the success of the program shows more than 21,000 Australian school students have been inspired by school visits and talks by the Superstars of STEM between 2019 and 2021, while the Superstars have reached cumulative media audiences of 83 million people through more than 4000 media appearances from July 2020 to June 2021.
The government is also providing an additional $2.4 million to support the Women in STEM Ambassador initiative. Led by Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, first appointed in 2018, the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador influences and mobilises Australia’s business leaders, educators and policymakers to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM.
One of Prof Harvey-Smith’s most significant achievements is the Future You campaign, designed for children 8–12 years old and their parents, which has reached 3.1 million children, parents and carers across Australia since its launch in October 2020. The government will invest an additional $2.3 million to expand this national digital awareness-raising initiative.
Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said the funding demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting women and girls and builds on the $147 million of investments to support gender equity in STEM.
“Supporting girls and women with opportunities to excel in these areas is not only an important issue of equity, but it bolsters the pool of available STEM-skilled workers,” Price said.
“This additional funding will continue to address structural and cultural biases that lead to the under-representation of women and girls in STEM, through amazing programs like the Superstars of STEM.
“The new investment also recognises the work of the Women in STEM Ambassador and the Future You campaign in encouraging women and girls to consider STEM subjects and careers.”
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