Australia and Singapore support women in STEM


Monday, 01 July, 2019


Australia and Singapore support women in STEM

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews visited Singapore this week to promote Australia’s science and innovation expertise and tap into economic opportunities in Southeast Asia — and wasted no time in announcing a series of partnerships in the Asia Pacific to support female leaders in business and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Having announced an ASEAN Women in Innovation Leadership Dialogue on her last visit to Singapore, Andrews has now revealed the recipient of the hosting rights for the conference, following a Women in STEM roundtable at Singapore’s Australian High Commission.

“Today I’m pleased to announce that the ASEAN Women in Innovation Leadership Dialogue will be hosted in 2020 as part of the World Economic Forum’s program in Asia, including their annual ASEAN meeting — bringing together business leaders, policymakers, innovators and influencers to showcase the best female talent and boost the level of human capital in the region,” Andrews said.

“The World Economic Forum is a pinnacle event, and we look forward to engaging across the region to showcase the importance and opportunity that STEM skills provide.”

To pave the way for the Forum and Dialogue, Andrews will host a preliminary event in Australia later in 2019. The Australian Government will also be partnering with Asialink Business to support a delegation of high-profile science and business leaders to attend the Dialogue to showcase and connect stellar female talent across the Asia-Pacific region.

“STEM organisations are lacking when it comes to female representation, with only 28% of management positions and 8% of CEO and executive positions held by women,” Andrews said.

“That’s why I’m also pleased to announce today that our national science agency, CSIRO, is supporting the 16th Gender Summit, which will be hosted in Singapore in August.

“This conference builds the knowledge we need to achieve greater gender equity in our world-class science community. It also opens doors to partner with our closest neighbours on the new technologies that will grow our economies and change our lives in the future.”

Andrews’ visit coincided with Singapore’s Smart Nation Innovations Week and saw her attend the Straits Digital Exchange as well as Southeast Asia’s largest innovation festival, Innovfest Unbound. Speaking in the lead-up to the events, Andrews said they will “bring together experts from around the globe who are at the cutting edge of industry innovation, particularly in the digital sector”.

“This will be a great chance to hear about the latest developments in this region, to develop business partnerships and identify opportunities for Australian industry to grow and create new jobs,” she said.

Andrews also met with government counterparts and industry representatives in Singapore to discuss the two countries’ science and innovation approaches. She noted that Australia and Singapore are close partners in science and innovation, collaborating on projects ranging from marine science to data analytics for disaster management. One such project — the Innovations in Food for Precision Health initiative — will see CSIRO join forces with Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in an effort to gain a better understanding of current and future dietary needs in both countries and help consumers make healthier food, diet and lifestyle choices.

Collaboration with Singapore is encouraged through Australia’s Global Innovation Strategy and is part of the Morrison government’s broader plan to grow the economy and create 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years.

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