IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Australia allocates $6.7 million to advance women in STEM initiatives

Women make up only 28% of the country's STEM workers

A woman looking at a tablet while standing in front of a server rack

The Australian government has allocated $6.7 million (£3.5 million) in additional funding to expand programmes that address the under-representation of women in STEM.

The government's Advancing Women in STEM Strategy was originally launched in 2019 at a time when women across the country made up only 28% of workers in STEM. This was later updated with the 2020 Action Plan, which aims to produce an Australian society that provides equal opportunity for people of all genders to work in STEM.

The latest funding will be divided over a handful of programmes, including $2 million over four years to extend the Superstars of STEM programme, delivered by Science and Technology Australia (STA). This is an initiative that boosts the profile of women in STEM by equipping them with advanced communication skills and opportunities in media, schools, and on stage.

The programme states it aims to grow a critical mass of celebrity women scientists to inspire future generations. The new funding will help it develop an additional 120 women into future leaders in the STEM sector and help boost their public profiles.

The Women in STEM ambassador has also been given $2.4 million over two years to ensure her work continues until 2025-26. The role was established in 2018 to advance gender equity in STEM in Australia, and is currently occupied by inaugural ambassador professor Lisa Harvey-Smith.

The ambassador works on a national scale to raise awareness of issues that can hold girls and women back from STEM study and work, and aims to increase their participation in the sector.

Lastly, an additional $2.3 million over four years will be used to expand the ambassador’s Future You programme. This helps 8-12 year olds envision a future for themselves in STEM by showcasing diverse role models and career pathways. The government said it has reached 3.1 million children, parents, and carers across the country since it launched in October 2020.

“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,” said Melissa Price, minister for Science and Technology.

Related Resource

The sweet spot of modern enterprise computing

Achieve security, reliability, scalability, and sustainability with hybrid IT infrastructure

Blue whitepaper cover with image of a computer chip with glowing lights and cloud, thought and padlock graphicsFree Download

The government highlighted that only 20% of girls reported being interested in STEM before 2018, but today upwards of 68% are interested in a STEM career.

One of its initiatives is producing a STEM Equity Monitor, which is published annually from 2020 to track system-level change to provide a consistent source of evidence.

For example, it found that in 2020, women’s participation in STEM occupations decreased to 13% from 14% in 2019. Previously this had increased by 3 percentage points between 2009 to 2019.

For comparison, women have comprised almost 50% of people in non-STEM occupations since 2009.

Featured Resources

Accelerating AI modernisation with data infrastructure

Generate business value from your AI initiatives

Free Download

Recommendations for managing AI risks

Integrate your external AI tool findings into your broader security programs

Free Download

Modernise your legacy databases in the cloud

An introduction to cloud databases

Free Download

Powering through to innovation

IT agility drive digital transformation

Free Download

Recommended

Skills shortages expected to hit over 90% of Australian and New Zealand businesses
Careers & training

Skills shortages expected to hit over 90% of Australian and New Zealand businesses

28 Jun 2022
Why India wants to become a chipmaking powerhouse
components

Why India wants to become a chipmaking powerhouse

28 Jun 2022
Samsung fined $14 million over misleading water resistance claims across its Galaxy smartphones
Mobile Phones

Samsung fined $14 million over misleading water resistance claims across its Galaxy smartphones

23 Jun 2022
Toshiba eyes $22bn buyout offer in bid to go private
Business strategy

Toshiba eyes $22bn buyout offer in bid to go private

23 Jun 2022

Most Popular

Salaries for the least popular programming languages surge as much as 44%
Development

Salaries for the least popular programming languages surge as much as 44%

23 Jun 2022
The UK's best cities for tech workers in 2022
Business strategy

The UK's best cities for tech workers in 2022

24 Jun 2022
LockBit 2.0 ransomware disguised as PDFs distributed in email attacks
Security

LockBit 2.0 ransomware disguised as PDFs distributed in email attacks

27 Jun 2022