On Tuesday, the Federal Government outlined an initiative aimed at boosting the engagement and participation of girls and women in STEM education.
The 10-year plan – announced by Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews as part of a key budget initiative with the Australian Academy of Science – is being called a “roadmap” to create gender equity for STEM.
“Getting more girls and women studying and working in STEM is a priority for the Government. We made an investment in the Budget and this consultation is an important step,” Minister Andrews said.
“As the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology and a mechanical engineer – one of the first two female graduates from the Queensland University of Technology – I am passionate about this issue.”
Minister Andrews said that increasing participation in STEM by girls and women is not only about equity and individual opportunity but about the strength of Australia’s research and our scientific and business capability.
“This funding builds on previous investments made through the National Innovation and Science Agenda of $13m,” she said.
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, said there are many talented women already working or studying in STEM careers and there are great opportunities to boost women in STEM.
“2018 Australian of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons, demonstrates just what can be achieved by women in STEM,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“STEM skills are critical to future jobs and to Australia’s ongoing prosperity.”
Minister O’Dwyer said that Australia cannot compete with countries around the world “with one hand tied behind our backs”.
“We need all Australians to have the same opportunities to study and work in STEM related careers,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“We are developing this plan and funding new initiatives to address the underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM in schools, universities and the workplace.”